Mexican Folk Religion

My grandmother remembers old folk religious practices performed during the Lental season. She was a young girl growing up in the Catholic Church in Gomez Palacio, Durango, Mexico, about 8 years old, when she remembers a folk religious practice.

“During Lent, since I was little, my Mother used to send me to church. I was very small, and I would be scared, because they make it look so real, you know, the Passion of Christ, you know? There was a group of women all dressed in black, in the church, and they would be singing, but they sound like they were crying. And then, um, I would go into the church, and it sounds so scary to me, and then there were soldiers, you know, dressed like Roman Soldiers. They made everything look so real.

During Lent we were very dedicated to what really was Holy Week. Because I remember, that when I was little and I would be afraid to hear the ladies singing, and the big statues, you know, like the saints, and I look at them and felt like they were looking at me. I don’t know, I would be afraid because I was really little and I would go by myself because I was the oldest of the kids and the other ones were younger and I just lived a couple of blocks from the church so I would just walk there. My mother would say go to church, it’s Holy Week, go to church. We say Sabada Gloria, it’s the Saturday before Lent, we would take little buckets with water with rose petals in the water, and the priest would bless the water and we would take it home, and sprinkle it in the house to bless the house.”

Esperanza says, “I do believe about that a lot. Because I had mine blessed, my house. To me, it’s very important to take all the bad spirits, or bad karma, away. Only good, and I do believe, maybe, because I have a lot of faith. I do believe that god is with me, that by being blessed, he’s welcome and he’s been in this house.” Water as purification and for blessing is a very prevalent theme in Christianity, especially Catholicism, so it makes sense that my very religious grandmother would have partaken in this folk religious performance.