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Skulls, flowers, cigarettes and memories; Bolivians celebrate Day of Skulls in La Paz

ITN News Editor
By ITN News Editor November 9, 2018 12:51

Skulls, flowers, cigarettes and memories; Bolivians celebrate Day of Skulls in La Paz

Bolivians honoured skulls, called “natitas,” on Thursday (November 8) as part of an ancient tradition rooted in indigenous practices they believe brings good fortune and protection.The natitas spend most of the year indoors, but on The Day of Skulls they are decorated and paraded to the cemetery a week after All Saints Day. The tradition is believed to have its roots in the Urus Chipaya custom of disinterring the corpses of loved ones at the one-year anniversary of their death.

This tradition, a fusion of Catholic and indigenous beliefs, is often practised by the some of the country’s indigenous groups. Friends and family at La Paz’s Municipal Cemetery adorn the skulls with hats and flowers. The participants give the skulls food and even cigarettes during the festivities.The Roman Catholic Church does not endorse the practise, but when the cemetery’s parish refused to open its doors to Day of the Skull believers 12 years ago, the participants threw stones at the church and broke all the windows. Now, parish priests are invited to the cemetery for a blessing ceremony.

ITN News Editor
By ITN News Editor November 9, 2018 12:51
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