San La Muerte

The devotion to San La Muerte (Saint Death), once restricted to the Argentine northeastern provinces of Corrientes and Chaco—and neighboring Paraguay—has now spread throughout the country. This development is due to the close association of the devotion to another even more popular figure that gained social legitimacy—that of Gauchito Gil (a Robin Hood–like social bandit) whose altars are found in most routes in the country and, increasingly, in urban, predominantly poor neighborhoods. Legend has it that Gil was, during his lifetime in the second half of the 19th century, a believer in—or at least carried a figurine of—San La Muerte, which made it hard for him to be killed by the police. Contemporary devotees, therefore, frequently pray to both saints—at least, those who are not ...

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