The Virgin of Candelaria Feast


The region of Puno in Peru is located between the foothills of Andes and ends abruptly at Lake Titicaca.

It is known as the folkloric capital of Peru and that it is difficult to deny when we see women and men Aymara and Quechua dressed in beautiful traditional and colorful costumes.

Every year in February, the inhabitants of Puno live with intensity and joy this party with religious overtones which inspires and encourages the hearts of thousands of faithful and visitors from all over the world.

Candelaria Puno

Many dance groups get ready in advance for many months in advance, between men and women wearing colorful costumes, parading the long streets of the town, dancing happily to the rhythm and the sound of rhythmic bands. The Virgin of Candelaria Feast approximately expects to receive no less than 85,000 visitors from home and abroad every year.

Dozens of groups of dancers gather from seven o'clock in the Enrique Torres Belon stadium in Puno, to participate in the huge well-known popular festival through the typical dances of the region.

Baile en la Candelaria

This traditional festival was recognized in November 2014 , as " intangible cultural heritage ; this recognition was given by the United Nations. It is a festival that celebrates proudly Peru

Puno is considered the Folkloric Capital of Peru and America is immensely rich in dance, music, customs and legends. It is famous for its varied and colorful folklore, possibly the richest region of Peru in ways that dazzles the continent, which maximum expression is manifested in the Virgin of Candelaria Feast.

In the early days of February, Puno and its streets become invaded by their faithful dancers in colorful costumes as for tourists and visitors who worship and rend homage to the Virgin of Candelaria known as The Mamacha of Candelaria. Puno is filled with faith and its population lives intensely their " carnivals " , becoming one of the biggest religious festivals in the country from colonial times to the current days.

Virgen de la Candelaria

This party lasts sixteen days , starting on February 2 with a Mass in the Church of the central square of the park Manuel Pino, and the congregation of singers and musicians, among people coming from all over the world to appreciate this spectacular religious festival .

Concluded the Eucharistic celebration ; the joy of living a religious event that people have to live very close to their " Mother " is evident with the beginning of the dances accompanied by bands of musicians who begin to accompany the parade through the streets of the city; while the image of the Virgin patron saint of people, is carried on a platform , in procession through the streets of Puno and her faithful devotees. Subsequent to the start of the festivities, days are carried out fairs and festivals on the most popular neighborhoods , where people drink and dance to the music and dances of Puno day and night. The apotheosis of the festival is dated on February 12 , when hundreds of groups show respect and veneration of the image of the " Virgin of Candelaria " with its lively dance tunes along the procession..

At night of February 2 the streets of the city are still full by a crowd of people outside the Temple Park Manuel Pino ; near the main square. While huge and short skirts women dancers waving between purples , fuccia , blue, yellow and silver under the night sky ; rose petals raining down from the balconies of the city, on the Virgin, They are the faithful devotees who bathe flowers , honoring and pleasing the "Mother " of the people.

The " Mamacha Candelaria " is accompanied by a crowd that accompanies the image as they ask for miracles . She is honored with prayers.

The faces of the faithful will be moistened with holy water, the priest will pour upon the pilgrims , suddenly looks sweet , earthy scent of rosewood, which are being held devotees as hundreds of lit white candles , illuminate the streets.

Following the passage of the huge procession , the beloved Virgin is taken to the Cathedral of Puno. Sometimes the gentle rain accompanies the passage of the faithful and visitors; but it does not prevent the act runs its course.

Meanwhile; street vendors are offering the famous " anticucho heart " ( beef or offal skewers of fried meat and potatoes) and other delicious snacks like meat and cheese empanadas. On the other hand it is very common to see the stalls and some establishments that sell the traditional " Api " purple amounts to a drink made from purple corn mainly , water, sugar and cinnamon. However, each vendor of " Api " gives his own touch , with aromas of anise, or fruits like pineapple or orange. The " Api " is a hot drink of Bolivian origin ; helping its inhabitants to combat the cold climate of the highland. The closeness between Peru and Bolivia , has allowed the entry of a strong influence of customs and traditions between both countries; in the expressions that strongly mark their identities , Music , Dance and gastronomy. Delicious " Api " hot will commonly accompanied by a huge and nice cheese pie.


By midnight , the panpipes and other percussion instruments are ringing through the streets, in the midst of a merger of beautiful sounds typical of the party. Groups of dancers are jumping around while waving handkerchiefs. in the midst of a merger of the beautiful typical sounds of the party. Groups of dancers are jumping around and waving handkerchiefs

" Did you know that the Virgin of Candelaria looks over 50 beautiful and fancy clothes? ", every year the change of attire , sporting a new and beautiful one. On the other hand , almost half of the bands are brought from Bolivia. We are pleased that this country , music and traditions , also accompany the extraordinary holiday, in an effort to express your love and faith to the saint patron of Puno, and share with the neighboring country , their dance and music.

There are plenty of colored lights, with castles and fireworks , flying over the roofs of the houses.
It is a spectacular event that brings joy to people.

The next day while the sun shines and rain appears; the procession continues until certain part of the day. In the afternoon before the night falls ; comparsas and groups of dancers again begin to walk the streets of the city and people crowd around the streets and sidewalks for watching the dancers, who filled with applause. Aymara women with huge feathered hats and flowers, dressed and uniformed particularly heavy fifteen colorful skirts who offer dancing " waka waka " amid colorful choreography; followed by groups of older men who wear costumes and cheerfully carried on hands, wooden rattles that sound to the beat of the bands. At the same time continue the dance groups of dancers dressed as gorillas, birds, women wearing bras stalls lined colored sequins and short skirts, with huge heels. Between dance and dance they are appearing the Sikuris , represented by groups of 50 to 60 musicians vigorously playing the panpipes to the rhythm of the dances and the sound of gongs and drums. Mamacha of Candelaria is still carried on a stretcher by his faithful devotees; in the middle of a party that fills the people of joy and feelings.

Musica Puno

Danzas Candelaria

Comparsas Candelaria

What important dates should you consider taking into account if visiting Puno for this festivity?

The dance competition takes place at the Enrique Torres Belon Stadium . The contest of native dances was held on Sunday January 31, 2016, while the competition in lights suits , will be held on February 07 to stop and worship dance will be held on 08 February of the following year.

Thus, perhaps indescribable in words ; it is essential that your eyes see , your ears hear and awaken your senses; scheduling your trip and preparing your bags to visit Puno in the month of February every year.
The magic of music , dances, colorful costumes and lights, regional gastronomy and other customs, mixed with feelings of faith, devotion and great love are lived through an unforgettable experience in the Folk Capital of America Puno !, you can not miss and schedule into your travel itinerary inside your extraordinary journey through Peru.

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