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La Santa Muerte: Origin and Significance of a Mexican Folk Saint

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La Santa Muerte: Origin and Significance of a Mexican Folk Saint
Whittington, Christine A.
Santa Muerte is a Mexican folk saint represented by a skeletal figure, often holding a globe, scythe, and scale. Santa Muerte has become ubiquitous in Mexico and increasingly common among Mexican immigrants in the United States. Santa Muerte is not accepted or authorized by the Catholic Church, but devotees, predominantly Catholic, petition Santa Muerte for protection in difficult situations and for assistance in securing love, economic success, and health. They appeal to Santa Muerte for assistance with lost causes, or Santa Muerte has been associated, especially by the media, with drug cartels, drug trafficking, and other organized crime in Mexico, but also with individuals on the margins of society, such as those threatened by violence, illness, or those who are disenfranchised by church and society because they are gay or transgendered. This study examines the Prehispanic, European, Mexican, and African origins for Santa Muerte imagery and practice. It uses case study methodology to examine Santa Muerte capillas (chapels) in areas removed from pervasive drug violence, including capillas in Oaxaca City and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Oral history interviews indicate that, at least in some cases, Santa Muerte is associated curanderismo, or healing, a function far removed from the violence of narcocultura.
Folk Saint
Santa Muerte
Leonard, Candyce (committee chair)
Simonelli, Jeanne (committee member)
Walls, Neal H. (committee member)
2011-07-14T20:35:20Z (accessioned)
2015 (available)
2011 (issued)
Liberal Studies (MALS) (discipline)
forever [N.B. Embargo lifted 18 December 2015 by Molly Keener at request of author.] (terms)
10000-01-01 (liftdate)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/33439 (uri)
en (iso)
Wake Forest University

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