Enjoy Puno’s Virgen de la Candelaria Festival!
- Published on Feb 01, 2016 Culture
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Enjoy Puno’s Virgen de la Candelaria Festival! A colorful celebration declared as Cultural Heritage by UNESCO
Puno is celebrating! In February, the whole region is colorfully decorated and people dance to the traditional music, proclaiming the arrival of one of the biggest festival in Latin America in commemoration of Virgen de la Candelaria (Virgin of Candelaria).
This historical celebration maintains its traditions of worshipping Catholic faith and Andean traditions such as respect for Lake Titicaca, “Mother Earth” or “Pachamama”, and also for magical dances and artistic expressions of Peru highlands.
The faith for Puno’s Patroness has its origins in the Canary Islands of Tenerife (Spain), bringing this tradition to Peru during the colonial period. That devotion for the Virgin started in the Province of Huancané, and later in the town of Puno, according to the notes of Bishop Juan Quiepo de Llano y Valdez (1696). Currently, the region inhabitants venerate the sacred image of the Virgin in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (Templo de San Juan).
Thousands of tourists arrive to Peru for the festival from December 31st to February 8th, so they do not miss any detail of this traditional celebration at almost 4.000 masl. It is estimated that over 100 thousand people, among tourist and artists, joyfully and devotedly participate in this cultural and religious festival.
During this celebration, a spectacular dancing contest with more than 200 traditional Andean dances will take place and the best dancers shall be rewarded. The dancing groups will gather in troupes that will pass through streets to its final destination located at the St. John the Baptist Church where they will pay tribute to the Virgin. Puno’s night skies will shine with an unforgettable firework display.
On November, 2014, Virgen de la Candelaria was declared as Cultural Heritage by UNESCO and the Province of Puno was considered as “folklore capital of the Americas” because it was the place chosen to organize this important event.
We invite you to spend a moment full of culture, color and joy! Be part of this astonishing festival in commemoration of Puno’s Patroness Virgen de la Candelaria.