Like the majority of Mesoamerican indigenous communities since the Conquest, the Nahua in the state of Mexico have developed an elaborate system of religious cargos centered on Catholic religious practices.
The objective of the system is to carry out the festivals honoring the patron saint of each community and to perform other religious celebrations in the Catholic ritual calendar. A committee is formed for each festival and placed in charge of organizing the event, collecting funds from the town's inhabitants, and mounting the celebration. In most cases committees are reconstituted annually, creating a general understanding that everyone will eventually be involved in organizing these religious rituals. One consequence of this system of religious duties is that it produces a deep feeling of unity and identification with the community.
Nevertheless, the cargo system is deteriorating because of the high cost of organizing festivities and the influence of Protestant sects that are beginning to change how people think about religious matters. In addition to these factors, the impact of the the modern national culture on the traditions of these communities is posing an enormous challenge to those who want to maintain their culture.