Hindu religious mendicants, with every conceivable bodily deformity, line the principal streets on both sides.
These devotees lavish large sums in indiscriminate charity, and it is the hope of sharing in such pious distributions that brings together the concourse of religious mendicants from all quarters of the country.
In former times Mexico was overrun with mendicants (pordioseros), vagrants and criminals (rateros), and the " Portales de las Flores " on the east of the Plaza Mayor was a favourite " hunting-ground " for them because of its proximity to the cathedral; but modern conditions have largely reduced this evil.
They are declared to be mendicants and enjoy all the privileges of the other mendicant orders.
Their living by weaving and the like, and appear to have been in intimate connexion with the craft-gilds; but under the influence of the mendicant movement of the 13th century these tended to break up, and, though certain of the male beguinages survived or were incorporated as tertiaries in the orders of friars, the name of Beghard became associated with groups of wandering mendicants who made religion a cloak for living on charity; beguigner becoming in the French language of the time synonymous with "to beg," and beghard with "beggar," a word which, according to the latest authorities, was probably imported into England in the 13th century from this source (see Beggar).
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