The first public sanctuary of Santa Muerte was established in Tepito. The Saint Death's cult has grown rapidly since then, and many faithful have put their images on public display.
Santa Muerte usually appears as a skeletal figure covered most often in a white, black or red robe and carrying a scythe and a globe.
In many ways, a ritual dedicated to Santa Muerte is very similar to a Catholic rite, including procession and prayers for power healing, protection and favors.
Some of the Saint Death's worshippers make the last part of the pilgrimage to the shrine in Tepito on their bloodied knees, many of them smoke marijuana that has a strong relation to Saint Death.
Santa Muerte is known by a number of names such as La Flaca (“The Skinny One”) or La Niña Blanca (“The White Girl”).
During the last twenty years the number of Santa Muerte's followers has grown to approximately two million devotees and the new religion has crossed the borders.
Although the Roman Catholic Church has denounced the worship of Saint Death, considering it as a black magic and the Santa Muerte's followers as devil worshippers, the faithful have never given up their Catholic faith.
Before the rosary is prayed collectively at the end of the day, believers leave offerings (money, candies, tabacco, flowers and candles) and make petitions to ‘La Santísima Muerte’.
On the first day of every month, devotees to Santa Muerte fill the streets of Tepito, holding figurines of Holy Death and praying at the altar established in a window at the home of Enriqueta Romero.
The most devoted Santa Muerte's believers are prostitutes, pickpockets, thieves and street drug traffickers.