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Santa Muerte: Mexico's Female Skeletal 'Saint Death' Is Invading Europe

Ludovica Iaccino - IBTimes
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February 17, 2014
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Nuestra Santisima Muerte (Opificio Ciclope)

A female skeletal saint known in Mexico as Santa Muerte (Spanish for Saint Death) or Bony Lady is already beloved by millions in South America, and now she is gaining devotees in Europe too.

Santa Muerte is associated with healing, protection, love and safe delivery to the afterlife by her followers. She was first mentioned in the Mexican historical record in 1793, when the Inquisition received a report of indigenous people in central Mexico venerating a skeletal figure they called Saint Death.

According to Andrew Chesnut, professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of a book on Santa Muerte, the cult originated in colonial Mexico when "the Catholic Church from Spain brought the figure of the Grim Reaper (called La Parca in Spain) with them as a tool of evangelisation of the indigenous people."

Chesnut, speaking to IBTimes UK, also discussed the increasing traction of Santa Muerte in Europe, saying that while the cult "is unmistakeably Mexican, death itself is universal and thus knows no borders or boundaries."

The Vatican and both the Catholic and Protestant churches in Mexico have condemned the cult of Santa Muerte as satanic and anti-religious.

Read the rest at IBTimes

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