Since it was Halloween yesterday and the #FriFotos theme is Souvenirs this week, it seemed appropriate to put the two together. I must warn you: this is not a photo for the faint of heart. This is not the ‘cute pumpkin’ version of Halloween; it is the ‘gruesome and creepy’ one. But it is an insight into Bolivian culture.
In fact, the creepiest sight in Bolivia is to be found in August, at the culmination of the Pachamama festival, when local people give offerings to Pachamama, or Mother Earth. These generally include coca leaves, sweets, cigarettes – all the vices of Bolivian people, which they naturally assume will appease the often-temperamental Earth deity. However, at the Mercado de las Brujas, or Witches’ Market, in La Paz, the offerings take a more sinister turn.
At the stalls here, dead baby llamas are the offering of choice, a throwback to a medieval, or even prehistoric time, when llamas were offered as sacrifices to the gods. In Bolivia, and particularly here, in the Witches’ Market, old spirituality and superstition is alive and well.
What’s the strangest ‘souvenir’ you’ve come across?