Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria of Puno

Inscribed in 2014 (9.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Ministry of Culture, 2013
The Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria, celebrated each February in the city of Puno, includes activities of religious, festive and cultural character that draw on Catholic traditions and symbolic elements of the Andean worldview. The main festival commences at the beginning of the month with a daybreak mass, followed by an ancient purification ceremony. A liturgical act the next morning leads into a religious procession, as the image of the Virgin is carried aloft along the streets accompanied by traditional music and dancing. The festival continues with two contests that attract numerous groups gathering several thousand dancers and musicians from across the region. The main practitioners are rural and urban inhabitants of the Puno region who belong to the Quechua and Aymara ethnic groups. Many emigrants from Puno also return to participate, reinforcing a sense of cultural continuity. Three regional federations of practitioners cooperate to organize the festivity and preserve the traditional knowledge and skills associated with dance, music and mask-making. Rehearsals and crafts workshops are the places where these skills are passed on to younger generations. The festivity closes with a ceremony for the Virgin, a parade and farewell masses.
February 2nd. The image of the Virgen de la Candelaria in the Puno Cathedral
The Virgen de la Candelaria generates enormous devotion among her congregation
The image of the Virgin is moved through the main streets of the city
Rehearsal of a traditional dance in a rural community.
Groups of traditional rural dances appear before the Virgin to show their faith.
The Festivity generates a massive artisanal production of costumes
Manufacture of traditional tin masks from the Andean plateau
Traditional groups of sikuris pay homage to the Virgin in her shrine.
Groups of urban dances called of "embroidered costumes" appear before the Virgin.
Massive contest of traditional dances in honour of the Virgen de la Candelaria.
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