English version

what is popular religion?

spanish conquest
spanish conquest


Popular religion means every kind of cult, veneration, ritual, and beliefs that a group of people (mostly from the same country) manifest to the divinity. In this website we’ll see this popular religion in Chile, its historical begins, and the development that it has had trough the time. Are this believes still remaining in the present?


To understand the begin of all we have to go back to the 17th century when Spanish were conquering and evangelizing America. They brought with them the catholic religion already mixed with regional tradition (from Andalucía for example). Parallel to the strict religious practices imposed by the church and it’s representatives it development other kind of rituals which didn’t really fit, they were from natives origins, so the virgins and gods also represent its own gods. That’s how ceremonies begin to change from its original forms adding  more colours, more expressivity, dances and songs that weren’t necessarily opposite to the catholic faith.


The ways to express this popular religion are so simples and commons that they often go unnoticed. But who hasn’t seen an “animita” or a typical festivity during the vacations worshiping a saint or a virgin. These and many others are the perfect example of how important is religion to the people even if it’s from a different point of view.