Macabre superstitions

Written by Jane Harris No Gravatar

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve come across some macabre Bolivian superstitions.

An early morning trip to buy fruit in Potosi took me to the edge of the local meat market . Goats were piled high with their throats recently cut and whole cow heads were offered for sale. But a stranger stall caught my eye. Hanging from hooks were row after row of dried llama foetuses, many decorated with ribbons and pom poms.  Elsewhere on the stall were dried frogs, plus an assortment of what looked like herbs and spices.  I learnt afterwards that the llamas are buried into the foundations of ninety nine per cent of all new buildings in Bolivia to ensure the prosperity of their inhabitants.  They are also burnt along with sweets and spices to ensure the success of new business ventures. The dried frogs are taken home and plied with cigarettes in order to generate wealth.

I saw a somewhat less macabre examples of Bolivian superstition in Cobacabana earlier today. The cars around the town square were bedecked in flowers and other decorations.  Apparently the ritual blessing of cars and trucks with alcohol, streamers and confetti is performed every Sunday by the local priest. With the world’s most dangerous road less than a three hours away I can see why drivers wouldn’t want to take any chances.

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