Every 1 November, on the occasion of the famous ‘Día de Muertos’, the residents of the neighbourhood of Tepito gather in the main streets to celebrate the ‘Culto a la Santa Muerte’, also known as ‘Culto a la Niña Blanca’, one of Mexico City’s oldest religious traditions.
Tepito, also known as ‘barrio bravo’, is one of the most critical neighbourhoods in Latin America, the scene of frequent murders and kidnappings.
Despite the critical nature of the area, I felt very safe shooting it because the parade represents a place of inclusion for the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, generally marginalised by Mexican society, a meeting place without any kind of discrimination, where free meals are offered, hymns for the saint are sung accompanied by live mariachi music, and where one forgets for a few hours the evil that surrounds us.
Death takes on a protective function for the faithful, who carry it on their shoulders along the district’s main street.
Photos and text by Sofia Fioramonti