The Captivating Virgen de la Candelaria Festival in Puno

Every year beginning on the first of February, Puno; the Folkloric Capital of Peru, explodes in celebrations to the Virgen de la Candelaria. The Virgin is the patron saint of Puno, and la Candelaria translates to the presentation of her son Jesus. The festival lasts for many days and can be seen as a prelude to Carnival which is celebrated throughout Peru in February.

virgen de la candelaria

During this vibrant festival, the streets of Puno come alive with colorful parades, traditional dances, and elaborate costumes. Locals and visitors alike gather to witness the energetic performances and immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of the region. The rhythmic beats of drums and the sound of panpipes fill the air as dancers gracefully move in sync, showcasing their skill and devotion to their traditions. The festival is a true spectacle of music, dance, and religious fervor, attracting thousands of attendees from all corners of the world.

Need Quick & Easy Trip Planning? We Can Help..

Peru Travel Tips

Free Itineraries Based on your Schedule & Budget
Booking Assistance for Hotels, Flights and Transfers
24/7 Customer Support & Personal Travel Advisors

Contact Us

Virgen de la Candelaria Festival Set to Begin

This year (2009), the Virgen de la Candelaria festival begins on Sunday, February 1st and lasts approximately 18 days. More than 200 groups of musicians and dancers from various areas of Peru will exhibit their talent. The festival is expected to attract around 40,000 tourists who will witness the vibrant parades, religious processions, indulgence in heavy drinking, and mesmerizing firework displays.

virgen de la candelaria puno

The history of the festival is said to be linked to the Pre-Hispanic agricultural cycles of sowing and harvesting. Both Aymara and Quechua cultures celebrate the festival which also attract Christians and Pagans alike. The worship of the Virgin is also attributed to mining in the region. The dance of the demons called Diabladas, which is the main dance of the festival, is said to have been created by a group of miners trapped in a mine who in their fear and desperation gave their souls to the Virgen de la Candelaria.

In the rich tapestry of the Americas, the Virgin of Candelaria’s tale is intricately woven into the cultural and spiritual fabric of many communities. Her presence resonates beyond the Spanish terrains and Canary Islands, echoing in the diverse corners of South America and the Caribbean. This profound devotion mirrors the intricate dance of cultural and religious interchanges spanning centuries.

Remarkably, her aura also illuminates the distant archipelago of the Philippines. In this far-flung land, the Virgin of Candelaria is more than just a symbol of faith; she reigns as the cherished patroness of Western Visayas and Negros Occidental. These regions honor her with a passion and reverence, underscoring the universal allure and significance of this Marian icon.

virgen de la candelaria festival

The Virgen de la Candelaria festival has two main phases. The first is described as el Dia Principal, the principal day, in which a procession carries the statue of the Virgen around the city, while dancers in lavish costumes dance around the main square to join the parade. The dancers, by group, pause in front of the cathedral to be blessed with holy water, after which they are cooled with water thrown from nearby houses.

The second phase occurs on the Sunday after February second, called the Octava. On this day, El Segundo Gran Dia, translated into the Second Great Day, costumed groups from the surrounding areas of Puno dance day and night in religious fervor and competitive spirit.

As the Virgen de la Candelaria festival wanes it is not uncommon to see water fights erupt throughout the city as Carnival in Peru begins. So if your in the area please make sure to check out Puno and all the colorful festivities that surround La Virgen de la Candelaria Festival as it’s more than just a religious celebration; it’s a testament to the rich tapestry of cultures and beliefs in this part of Peru. The festival not only honors the Virgin Mary but also celebrates the resilience, unity, and rich heritage of the people of Puno. Puno is an 8 hour bus ride south from Cusco.

Leave a Reply

Proceed Booking