Celebrated every February by Aymara, Quechua, and mestizo ethnic groups of the Peruvian altiplano, the Fiesta de la Candelaria in Puno is a festival over the first two weeks in February in honor of the Virgin Maria of the Candelaria. It is Peru‘s most important religious celebration and one of the largest in South America (just behind the Rio’s Carnaval), which means lots of beer and lots of Catholicism.
With neighborhood and village dance groups (conjuntos) winding through the streets of Puno for hours on end fueled by local pride and alcohol, keeping your camera handy is advisable. The first weekend´s competition is reserved for the traditional dances of the native communities (danzas autóctonas), while the following week is reserved for the more stylized dance groups (trajes de luces, literally suits of light).
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