Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Church bans masses for ‘Ñatitas’

RELIGION • Catholic Church bans masses for ‘Ñatitas’ (human skulls) this Sunday 8 November because it is not a catholic rite. Even though in Achacachi devotees of ‘Ñatitas’ beg priest to do so. By EUGEN ROXAS

Ñatita in her altar. © La Prensa

Achacachi, Bolivia. - The Catholic Church in Bolivia recommended to all priests NOT to celebrate Masses for 'Ñatitas' (human skulls that are believed by their owners have supernatural powers).

The 'Ñatitas', may be relatives of the devout but there are also cases that have no known origin and, according to press reports, are stolen from graves then sold or given away.

People often have 'Ñatitas', at homes in altars and ignite candles to protect their property or prosper, because they possess hidden powers, according to an ancient Andean qulla tradition.

His devotees often ask Catholic priests masses for their skulls every 8 November, held a week after the Catholic feast of All Saints.

Archbishop of La Paz, Archbishop Edmundo Abastoflor said his "brother priests that is not appropriate to accept Mass for 'Ñatitas', but rather that it may hold for the faithful departed souls or unknown," according to the statement of the Conferencia Episcopal Boliviana (CEB).

He also said "instil in people that it is not necessary nor desirable to bring human remains taken from graves to church, but rather let them rest in peace," he said. But, this has to be said, in the case of the Andean cultures of Bolivia, the souls are not seen in the way that makes Catholic Church, the souls they are not waiting the resurrection, according to the Andean cultures they are even here in the earth. .

The mood or “ajayu”, explains researcher Milton Eyzaguirre, of the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore (MUSEF) comes from two, three, four, five per person.

In Achacachi town ‘Ñatitas have their own parties. After the mass, devotees bound for it with pleasure and happiness. In the party, a series of praying begins for the devotees requesting fortune and protection, after which a toast is made with alcoholic drinks. Finally this becomes a cheerful party when the orchestra begins playing songs.

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