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MEXICO: Religion

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During the Spanish conquest and colonization of Mexico, Roman Catholicism was established as the dominant religion of Mexico, and today, about 89% of Mexicans identify themselves with that division of Christianity. Evangelical denominations have grown in recent years, to about 6% of the population, after being introduced by missionaries and settlers from Europe and the United States in the 19th century. Other religions make up the remaining 5%, with the most notable growth among The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Jehovah's Witnesses.

The methods of Spanish domination of the Mexican indigenous people often resulted in forced conversions to Catholicism, which ultimately meant that the people continued in their previous belief system. This led to widespread religious syncretism, since indigenous religious practices were incorporated into the practices of Catholicism. It also explains the general lack of conviction among Mexican Catholics today – instead of being a religion that was chosen by individuals, it was forced upon a whole group.

Perhaps the most striking example of this fusion of different traditions is the widespread veneration of the Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Day of the Dead is another example of religious syncretism, in which the European Catholic All Saints' Day is combined with indigenous rites of ancestor veneration. In many Mexican communities, curanderos (traditional healers) use indigenous folk medicine, spiritual, and Christian faith healing to treat ailments and "cleanse" spiritual impurities. Use your international cellular phone rental in Mexico to find a place of worship near you.

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