Today in the world of Pagan/ Catholic hybrid celebrations, we bring you Bolivia’s Dia de los Natitas, otherwise known as The Day of the Skulls.
During Dia de los Natitas, Bolivians throughout the country gather at the churches and cemeteries with human skulls in tow in order to pay homage to the departed. The tradition originally started in pre-Colombian times when people would spend a day with the bones of their loved ones three years after they died.
Today it is common to find human skulls in people’s households. The skulls are from strangers or departed loved ones and are cared for and honoured throughout the year. It is believed that a person has seven souls, one of which remains in the skull. After someone has died and enough time has passed to allow 6 of the souls to proceed to heaven, the body is dug up and the skull is removed. It is speculated that if you treat the skull poorly then you will face bad luck, but should you treat the skull with the respect it deserves you may be able to ask it for favours.
Once a year, on Dia de los Natitas, the skulls are adorned with flowers and given cigarettes and other treats. They are then taken outside the home to celebrate.
The Catholic Church does not support the tradition.
When: November 9th, 2012
Where: La Paz, Bolivia