#9 Santa Muerte – Mexico and the Southwestern United States
Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte or, colloquially, Santa Muerte is a female folk saint venerated primarily in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. A personification of death, she is associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees. Despite opposition by the Catholic Church, her cult arose from popular Mexican folk belief, a syncretism between indigenous Mesoamerican and Spanish Catholic beliefs and practices.
Since the pre-Columbian era, Mexican culture has maintained a certain reverence towards death, which can be seen in the widespread commemoration of the Day of the Dead. Elements of that celebration include the use of skeletons to remind people of their mortality. The worship of Santa Muerte is condemned by the Catholic Church , but it is firmly entrenched in the Mexican culture.