The Feast of Miraculous Skulls in Bolivia Celebrated in the Octave of All Saints'
The Fiesta de las Ñatitas is celebrated on the octave of All Saints’ Day in Bolivia: it is the relic of a pre-Columbian past that the Church has sought to channel over the centuries.
This year, the Feast of the Skulls once again drew about 10,000 people, according to the AFP and the newspaper El Comercio, and “over 700 decorated skulls visited the cemeteries of the Bolivian capital”. The ñatitas or “snub noses” have been venerated for centuries. Bolivians consider them the protectors of their homes.
Where do these skulls come from? Most often, they are the remains of deceased ancestors, passed down from generation to generation, and piously preserved in urns before which the families like to pray.
Unable to eradicate this deeply rooted custom inherited from pre-Hispanic cults, the Church has sought to Christianize it, transforming it into a prayer of intercession for the departed souls to whom the month of November is consecrated.
As usual, the faithful gathered in the churches of La Paz with their delicately decorated skulls to receive the priest’s blessing. The skulls were then carried in procession to the cemeteries to the joyful sound of the famous mariachis, a singular contrast with the gravity of the subject.
At the cemetery, the faithful symbolically offer food, drink or coca leaves and stay to pray for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed.
Sources: El Commercio / AFP / FSSPX.News 11/26/2018