February 8th, 2009 The festivity of the Virgin of Candelaria
The festivity of the Virgin of Candelaria is realized in February in Puno, a city situated on the banks of the Titicaca Lake located 3870 above sea level. This celebration is a sample of alive culture, its dances and music are beautiful, and that is why it is considered one of the most important and significant festivities that are realized in South America together with the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and the Carnival of Oruro in Bolivia.
The festivity lasts for 18 days during which the people can see more than 200 folkloric groups. There are native dances from communities of Puno and also organized dances from neighborhoods of the city named “dances with costumes made of lights”. Thousands of visitors come to the Sanctuary of San Juan to worship the Virgin of Candelaria. The principal day is 2nd of February, on this day the groups dance merrily in the streets of the city, performing colorful choreographies with contagious rhythms that join the settlers and the visitors of all ages.
This festivity is associated with the Pachamama (Earth) and the tribute to the Earth that relates to the purity and fertility of the virgin. Different communities such as Aymaras, Quechuas and mestizos meet during this celebration.