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The Religious Nature of Pedregal de Santo Domingo

While sitting in my chair on May 16th, 2022, I am looking through some emails when I suddenly start hearing a bunch of noises.

Having just been at the gym for an hour and a half, I was tired and then a bunch of random explosions started happening in the distance.

"Oh fuck off..." I thought.

However, as the noises continued, I started to wonder if something important is happening outside.

So I grab my phone to document it and, as I left my room, I see a mini parade happening literally outside my apartment.

In fact, I later saw this parade happen several times throughout the week on different days at around the same time in the afternoon.

People playing music.

Some of them carrying religious items down the middle of the street.

People dressed up for the occasion.

So on and so on.

Here are some photos.

To be fair, it wasn't the biggest group of people marching down the street.

Not some big celebration like the Barranquilla Carnival or something.

But a celebration anyway!

Even before I saw the religious items being carried down the street, I immediately had the suspicion that it must've been something religious.

After nearly a year in total of living in Pedregal de Santo Domingo, I'm accustomed by this point to how "extra religious" the neighborhood is.

Now, to be fair, there is a neighborhood in the north of Mexico City that has some religious significance with a very important Basilica as you can see here.

And you do have other areas like Tepito that have their religious importance as you can see here.

Santa Muerte Tepito

Still, in comparison to any other neighborhood that I have been to, Pedregal de Santo Domingo is definitely noticable for how religious the local folks can be.

This "mini parade" is the latest example of that.

While they marched down the street, I asked some random lady "what are they celebrating?"

I could tell it was religious in nature but is there something special about this particular day?

And she began to explain how some of the folks holding the parade are from another area.

From what I understood, they seemed to be from some area called "San Pedro Atocpan."

Anyway, she then went on explaining a bunch of biblical stuff that, to be fair, I had a harder time understanding the references given I'm not at all familiar with the bible.

Anyway, clearly it was something religious in nature!

I ended up following the parade around the neighborhood.

We made a few stops along the way. The music was repetitive. It was cool overall.

Ended up at some random church looking building where the music and dancing continued.

Along the way, some homeless looking dude who seemed to be in his early 20s decided to make small talk with me.

I made small talk with him.

He was friendly overall but seemed EXTREMELY drugged out and/or low IQ.

Speaking VERY slowly and clearly was "not all there."

And at some point he took out what appeared to be hand gel (though I have no idea what it was) and some cotton ball thing.

The second he took it out was the second a VERY STRONG smell could be noticed.

And he took it up to his nose and sniffed it.

Given I'm not very familiar with drugs, I have no idea what it was.

But I was thinking to myself surprised "do people really get high on hand gel?"

That's what it looked like!

Now you see how inexperienced with drugs I am....

Then he looked up at me and asked "want to try?"

I declined. 

Anyway, the event carried on. Ended in 30 minutes.

Was interesting overall and an example of how religious the people can be here.

Similar to other moments I've had in Pedregal de Santo Domingo where the locals are celebrating something religious.

Apartment Hunting Interrupted by Jesus

When I decided to move back to this neighborhood, I knew the area pretty well as I had lived here before.

So I didn't have the biggest issue finding any apartment building outside of the fucked up numbering system of the buildings as I wrote more about here.

Still, there is one minor issue I had when looking for an apartment building that I don't think I mentioned yet on my blog.

While looking for one building in particular, I had a minor annoyance in which I found a group of people literally blocking off a section of the street so they can all sit in chairs to pray to Jesus.

Never seen anything like that in the rest of Mexico City -- people blocking off an entire section of a street that people drive through with their vehicles so they can pray to Jesus.

It didn't annoy me though.

I just took a turn onto another street and went around them.

Still, to this day after a year here, I've seen folks blocking sections of the street for any other reason!

Religious or not.

For example, as I wrote here, it's not uncommon for folks to block sections of the street to hold a birthday party for their kids or any other celebration.

And praying to Jesus?

Seen it plenty of other times!

Be it blocking the street as a group or when individuals stop to do a quick prayer before going to work.

The Morning Prayer

Across the street from my apartment is a little statue of some religious character (no idea who it is).

It's not uncommon in the very early mornings of around 5 to 8 AM for any particular person to stop in front of it, do a quick prayer and continue on their day.

In fact, this neighborhood has no shortage of other spots where similar religious items are placed.

Here's one example.

Festejo de Los Judas

Finally, there is a particular street celebration that the locals sometimes do each year.

If I'm not mistaken (and I'm not entirely sure on the dates) but I think it happens more about Semana Santa time.

I don't entirely understand it as I literally don't have any background in religion.

But it's an event that is held in this neighborhood that you can see here.

Festejo de Los Judas Pedregal de Santo Domingo

Final Thoughts

It's all a bit ironic though, isn't it?

Pedregal de Santo Domingo also has quite the reputation of being a much more dangerous neighborhood.

Some Mexicans I have heard calling it "the Tepito of the south."

And, like I said, Tepito itself has some religious significance as we have seen.

While I'm sure you can find churches in wealthier neighborhoods, I guess it's aligned with trends, no?

Maybe the trend isn't always true though.

But that trend being places that are poorer and/or more dangerous can sometimes be more religious.

And, I guess when you live in such an area, maybe there's more of that need to have something "bigger than yourself" to find guidance and hope in.

Or whatever the reasoning might be for this trend I have noticed.

It is what it is though.

I like it anyhow.

Even though I'm not at all religious, it does add "a little bit extra" to the culture of the area.

Like when street events such as the one I was surprised with a few days ago.

Interesting to watch it all and enjoy the moment.

Anyway, that's all I got to say.

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Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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