On the 9th of November in Bolivia, Bolivians celebrate “Dia de los natitas”.
Human skulls have a special status and are considered good luck and kept within family homes. Annually they are taken out as a celebration dressed in hats for warmth from the morning sun and sunglasses as protection from the midday sun. they are also given offerings of cigarettes and sweets and blessed within the church.
The skulls are taken from abandoned cemeteries and are surprisingly not from a family member. It is believed that all skulls have many spirits and one will come through as a dominant spirit that will protect from a very specific problem.
The National law enforcement agency even keeps two ‘Natitas’ – Juanito and Juanita, that are sometimes used during interrogation as it is believed that it would be impossible to lie in their presence.
These are fascinating to me on several levels
- The use of hats strengthens my choice to use knitted hat impressions
- The belief that each skull is an individual who can still function within a social group
- bringing death into the every day so that it no longer seems separate.