Popular belief – Treading the path between religion and superstition, between devotion and wizardry, between solemnity and witchcraft.
Superstition is the belief in the impact and perceptibility of powers that cannot be explained by the laws of nature.
Popular piety designates regionally evolved individual religious practice, which is accepted by the institutional church, as opposed to superstition. It is often the result of how religious laypersons practice their faith.
In a magic and transcendent-minded world, all thought and action took place in relation to a supernatural cosmos. Daily life was imbued by religious formulae and gestures that called on God for protection. Adoration or votive images provided individuals with a very concrete experience of supernatural spheres, as did church cults and pilgrimages for groups.
In war and famine, it was common practice to call on God. Due to the lack of medical knowledge, diseases were treated with a myriad of healing spells, potions and practices in a desperate search for protection from infection.
Multiple forms of popular piety developed in Catholicism, particularly around the adoration of the Sacred Heart, the Virgin Mary, angels and saints. The official liturgy gave room for popular piety, therefore staying in touch with the people.