In pictures: Mexicans pay homage at altar of 'Santa Muerte' sect

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Emilio Espejel

MEXICO CITY — In the so-called "fierce neighborhood" of Tepito, residents pour into a street known as Alfarería #12 on the first day of every month to pay homage to one of the most popular altars of the Santa Muerte sect, a syncretic cult-like religious expression that mixes ancient beliefs about death with Catholicism.

The monthly procession draws hundreds of tepiteños who pay their respects by offering prayers, chants, marijuana cigarettes, dollar bills and promises in exchange for miracles.

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This altar was installed 14 years ago in front of the house of Enriqueta Romero, known in Tepito as Doña Queta. Throughout the years this street shrine has become a religious icon that brings the Tepito community together and helps keep faith during harsh times.

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Photographs by Emilio Espejel.

Emilio Espejel is a photographer based in Mexico City.

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