Mexicans. An interesting group of people, the indigenous Mexica are led by the socialist EZLN (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), the majority have a strong fascination with death, are prone to Chupacabra encounters, being the reason marijuana is illegal in the U.S, and when shit gets flung at them, they take it to Hollywood. Being of extreme Mexican descent, but extreme cultural distance, I will not write about lame-ass shit like the 1070 (which I personally feel gives too much power to the police), or how silly the American holiday of Cinco de Mayo is (I remember being constantly asked by my teachers what I planned on doing today back in grade school), but instead about a deity that long dead, possibly non-existant family members of mine once worshipped: Mictecacihuatl ("Lady of the Land of the Dead"), now known as La Santisima Muerte ("The Most Holy Death").
Pictures with her cost twenty pesos.
Now, your initial reaction is that they're worshipping the Grim Reaper. Let me explain: she was originally depicted as a Mexica woman covered in funeral flags and wearing a skull mask with a blade protruding from the nose, she was considered a protector of souls in the underworld and she ruled it with her beau Mictlantecuhitli, a pretty badass looking character whose rituals involved cannibalism, he wore a necklace of human eyeballs, and he was often depicted with a gaping mouth so that he could eat the stars! Mictecacihuatl was the patron of Dia de los Muertos, which was originally held at the end of July and dedicated to dead children, but when the Spaniard priests came into the scene they altered the date to coincide with All Hallows Eve. Now, according to legend, the indigenes have this mad Cthulhu-esque idea that all the old Gods are sleeping and will reawaken when there is enough faith and prayer.
So why does she look like the Grim Reaper as opposed to a theater major performing in "Blood Wedding"? It's a result of the syncretization of Catholic and old-world beliefs, a bit like Santeria being a syncretization of Catholicism and Afro-Cuban Voodoo. Unlike the other "Sleeping Gods" she has been continuously worshipped covertly and gone under the guise of a "saint" (again, another parallel to Santeria's "saints"), so she's the european representaion of the angel who takes his sickle to harvest the ripe fruit of the Earth (Revelations 3:..umm...Revelations) to avoid catholic persecution, which it inevitably got. It is now condemned as a devil-worsipping cult that deals heavily with black magic. Over the past twenty years her followers have gone from the hundreds to an estimated two-million, with the majority being drug traffickers, criminals, rapists, and kidnappers. C'est la vie for a death goddess.