chapter  9
20 Pages

Transcending Symbols: The Religious Landscape of Pilgrimage Studies in Mexico


Catholicism with a Spanish flavour has shaped social life in Mexico since Spanish colonization in what was known as Nueva España, more than 500 years ago. Various chronicles inform us about shrines dedicated both to St Mary and Jesus Christ during the Spanish colonial period (1592-1810): the historian, Willam B. Taylor (2005, 2010), for example, provides us with an account of devotional images and local practices of shrines in colonial Mexico, while Nájera (2006) develops a good discussion of these chronicles through a compilation of apparitions in Nueva Galicia-an area now represented by the states of Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit, Durango, Sinaloa and the Zacatecas. The Guadalupe apparitions have also inspired extensive discussion since the 17th century. Chronicles as well as historical and ecclesiastical traditions are, therefore, very important in Mexico to follow the importance of these sites in the religiosity and, as Taylor succinctly states, to understand ‘the negotiation of colonial circumstances by Indian villagers’ (2005: 947).