Hundreds of parishioners went to different Catholic churches in Bolivia today with their images of the baby Jesus to be blessed on the day of the Three Kings, a tradition that mixes Christianity and indigenous customs.
Catholic families ready baskets with white cloths, glass or wooden boxes to carry the plaster or porcelain figure of the "little boy" Jesus to "hear" Mass and also to receive the blessing of the priest inside the temples.
"It is a deeply rooted custom that allows us to show our gratitude to Mr. Jesus by taking a little time and bringing them to church," Claudia Aliaga, a fervent believer, told Efe.
Aliaga carried in a basket an image that she inherited from her great grandmother and other figures that belong to her children to listen to the mass in the church of San Francisco in La Paz.
Others carry the effigies of Joseph and Mary and the three wise men so that "as a family" they can be blessed before being saved until the following Christmas.
Outside the churches there are vendor stalls that display ready-made clothes for the images because many parishioners have the habit of buying new clothes and toys to their effigies before entering the mass.
When leaving the temple there are several yatiris (indigenous shamans) waiting with incense and bells to bless the images of the baby Jesus and to ask that the owner of the image has prosperity all year.
Believers opt for the two blessings and also buy white candles to light at home and pray before saving the image.
According to tradition, families today collect the cribs and armed births in their homes to receive Christmas.
Every January 6 the visit of the three wise men, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem is remembered and with this celebration the cycle of the Christmas holidays is closed.