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Bolivians carry human skulls asking for favours in festival

A woman carries a decorated human skull or "natitas," after a blessing by the priest inside the Cementerio General chapel, during the Natitas Festival celebrations, 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. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
November 08, 2016 - 11:58 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 favours.

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.

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.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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