The Fiesta de la Candelaria is celebrated in February every year in honor of the Virgin of Candelaria, patron saint of the city of Puno in Peru. The festival has been held in Puno since 1960, featuring a wide range of religious and cultural activities inspired by Catholic traditions.
In 2014, the festival was declared an intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO. With numerous different celebrations spanning the majority of the first half of February each year, it’s one of the largest festivals of culture, music, and dancing in Peru. During the festival, the continuous colorful procession carries the statue of the Virgin of Candelaria from the church along central streets.
The colorfully costumed competitors dance in an endless parade through Puno streets while the walkways are packed with spectators. There can be around 50,000 dancers and 15,000 musicians in a spectacle during the main possession.
The 18-day festival is organized by the Regional Federation of Folklore and Culture of Puno.