Some Bolivians carry human skulls asking for favors

Reuters reports via CBS News:

Bolivians carry human skulls asking for favors

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-10-58-37-am

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Hundreds of Bolivians have carried human skulls adorned with flowers to a cemetery in the capital city of La Paz, asking for health, money, love and other favors.

The devotees brought the skulls known as “natitas” for a short Mass at the cemetery Tuesday. They later played music, danced and lit candles.

Others took 67 skulls into a home in La Paz as part of the ritual celebrated annually a week after the Day of the Dead.

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-02-26-am

The Roman Catholic Church considers the skull festival to be pagan, but it doesn’t ban people from taking part.

The festival is a mix of Andean ancestral worship and Catholic beliefs. Experts say it was common in pre-Columbian times to keep skulls as trophies and display them to symbolize death and rebirth.

CREDIT: Juan Karita, AP

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-02-43-amNatitas Festival at the Cementerio General
A human skull or “natita” is crowned with flowers and surrounded by offerings of coca leaves, flower petals and cigarettes, during the Natitas Festival at the Cementerio General in La Paz, Bolivia, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.The “natitas” are cared for and decorated by faithful who use them as amulets believing they serve as protection, the tradition marks the end of the Catholic All Saints holiday, but is not recognized by the Catholic church.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Juan Karita

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-06-39-amWitch doctors at The Day of Skulls in El Alto
Witch doctors pay honor to their skulls before the celebrations of The Day of Skulls in El Alto, on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia, November 7, 2016.

CREDIT: REUTERS/David Mercado

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-07-54-amA witch doctor at The Day of Skulls in El Alto
A witch doctor holds a skull at her work place before the celebrations of The Day of Skulls in El Alto, on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia, November 7, 2016.

CREDIT: REUTERS/David Mercado

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-09-09-amA witch doctors at The Day of Skulls in El Alto
A witch doctor sits with skulls before the celebrations of The Day of Skulls in El Alto, on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia, November 7, 2016. Picture taken in November 7, 2016.

CREDIT: REUTERS/David Mercado

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-10-51-amA skull at a cemetery
A skull is seen at a cemetery during the Day of Skulls in La Paz, Bolivia, November 8, 2016.

CREDIT: REUTERS/David Mercado

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screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-12-17-amA devote
A devote holds a skull before the celebrations of The Day of Skulls in El Alto, on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia, November 7, 2016.

CREDIT: REUTERS/David Mercado

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bolivians-carry-human-skulls-asking-for-favors/

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