Her name is Santa Muerte, the folk Saint of Death, and she is the skeletal figurehead of one of the fastest growing religions in Mexico and Central America with an estimated 10-12 million followers. Devotees have begun incorporating the controversial saint into Day of the Dead celebrations in recent years, as both are thought to originate from the Aztec goddess Mictecacihuat, or Lady of the Dead, who reigned over a festival of death every year in August.
Santa Muerte, the personification of death, is typically portrayed as a skeletal figure draped in robes and veils similar to those of the Virgin Mary. She is often depicted carrying a scythe. Her appeal, according to devotees, lies in her non-judgemental nature, as death brings a fundamental equality to all people. It is also widely believed that she will grant favors and wishes in return for vows or offerings. She is most often associated with protection, healing, and financial well being, and is the only female saint of death in the Americas.