iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Bolivia: Day of the Skulls

Play now 28 mins

Bolivia: Day of the Skulls

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 03 November 2010

The Day of the Skulls is part of a vibrant ritual that mingles indigenous and Catholic beliefs.

Every November, human skulls like that of Victor the police captain (pictured), are honoured with special masses and paraded in cemeteries.

The faithful believe that these skulls bring them luck, protect them from evil and can even punish their enemies.

In return, the skulls are treated to sweets, cigarettes and candles and serenaded with local music and dancing.

As Andres Schipani finds out, the Catholic Church has no choice but to tolerate this ritual, even allowing the skulls to be brought to mass.

Photograph: Police Captain Victor - one of the most popular skulls.

Free download

  1. Image for Heart and Soul: Faith Perspectives

    Heart and Soul: Faith Perspectives

    Explore the role of faith, spirituality and religious practice in the lives of people around the…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss