Tepito - Tepito and Santa Muerte

Tepito and Santa Muerte

The official Catholic saint for the area is Saint Francis of Assisi, whose feast day in 4 October. But most consider Santa Muerte to be the real patron saint of the area.

A believer by the name of Enriqueta Romero Romero, who resides in Tepito, decided to take a life-sized image of Santa Muerte out of her home and build a shrine for it, visible from the street. The image is dressed in different color garb depending on the season, with the Romero family changing the dress every first Monday of the month. Over the dress are large quantities of jewelry on her neck, arms and pinned to her clothing. These are offerings that have been left to the image as well as the flowers, fruits (esp. apples) candles, toys, money, notes of thanks for prayers granted, cigarettes and alcoholic beverages that surround it. Enriqueta considers herself the chaplain of the sanctuary, a role she says she inherited from her aunt, who began the practice in the family in 1962. The shrine is located on 12 Alfarería Street in Colonia Morelos. The house also contains a shop that sells amulets, bracelets, medallions, books, images and other items, but the most popular item is votive candles On the first day of every month, Enriqueta leads prayers and the saying of the rosary, which lasts for about an hour, with approximately 5,000 in attendance. On the first of November, the anniversary of this altar to Santa Muerte is celebrated. The Santa Muerte of Tepito is dressed as a bride and wears hundreds of pieces of gold jewelry given by the faithful to show gratitude for favors received, or to ask for one. The celebration officially begins at the stroke of midnight of November 1. About 5,000 faithful turn out to pray the rosary. For purification, instead of incense, there is the smoke of marijuana. Flowers, pan de muerto, sweets and candy skulls among other things can be seen. Food such as cake, chicken with mole, hot chocolate, coffee and atole are served. Mariachis and marimba bands play.

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