AFP — Every year in early November Bolivians crowd local cemeteries to display the human skulls they keep at home, seeking to have the beloved craniums blessed.
Part of a centuries-old tradition, many here believe they represent the souls of the dearly departed. If treated kindly and with respect, the skulls will protect families and businesses, and grant wealth and a healthy life.
Stout Andean women wearing long skirts and bowler hats were among the crowd taking their skulls into the cemetery chapel for a blessing.
"I brought her so that she can hear mass and receive a blessing for the favors that she granted us," a woman at a La Paz cemetery chapel told AFP as she carefully clutched her skull, decked out with flowers for the event.
Many were ensconced in a bed of colorful petals in display containers that ranged from simple, open-boxes to fancy glass boxes or wood displays with glass windows.