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22°30'12" S 68°51'20" W
22°29'7" S 68°52'38" W
22°35'48" S 68°41'51" W
22°31'59" S 68°48'14" W
22°22'34" S 68°40'31" W
22°22'34" S 68°40'31" W
22°50'3" S 68°20'5" W
22°50'10" S 68°20'4" W
22°42'42" S 68°25'21" W
22°42'19" S 68°26'28" W
22°37'39.8"S 68°03'22.1"W
22°50'11" S 68°20'2" W
22°25'13" S 68°48'48" W
23°22'11" S 69°54'48" W
22°24'19" S 68°46'9" W
22°24'18" S 68°44'57" W
Pets animitas 22°24'20" S 68°44'34" W
23°6'58" S 69°31'44" W
23°8'19" S 69°34'40" W
20°26'55.9"S 69°30'34.8"W



Animitas, memorials built in commemoration of people killed at road accidents, sprinkles  all over Chilean roadside. They represent a living tradition in the popular culture and a  clear example of syncretism in the country beliefs. The memorials are often constructed  with houses and figures related to the dead and the means of transport; it is a  noncommercial folk art. It is a common and old tradition, and these visual histories of  road fatalities are seen on every road. There are many thousands of them all over Chile.  Animitas are not official in any way. The authorities in charge of roads and highways  have no regulations about it, but they allow people to put them up. The churches have  no relationships to animitas either. Many of them display a cross, but no priests or other  church representatives take part in celebrations at the animitas.  The animitas represent a living tradition in the popular culture of Chile. Not all families  create an animita to honor a person killed on a road, but many do, and this tradition can  be seen in all areas of Chile, specially in the north regions of the Atacama desert where  this pictures were made. These memorial shrines are an established part of the culture  in many other countries as well, although the name animita in relation to the existence of  a soul is used only in Chile and Peru.  The word animita comes from the Chilean word ánima – in English, soul. According to  some popular faiths, the souls of the dead who lost their lives through tragic  circumstances wander around the area where they were killed. This belief can partly  explain why family members and friends create these small houses where loved ones  can place a lighted candle for the person who died. People who are not related to the  person who was killed can offer a prayer at the animita; in this way, animitas can take  the roles of popular saints in the Catholic religion.  Animitas are raised not only where people have died in traffic accidents. There can also  be animitas for workers who were killed in a mine, executed criminals and politicians,  and victims of rape who were murdered, among others. For this reason, the Catholic  Church does not officially recognize animitas as part of its official system of saints.  However, common people do not recognize this difference, and they continue the  practice of establishing animitas as an accepted tradition. In this way, the church and the  animitas co-exist peacefully.



May 2017
Atacama desert, Chile