Starting early next week, the city of Puno, Peru is transformed for the Virgin of Candelaria Festival. Thousands of dancers and musicians fill the streets with sounds and fantastic costumes to fill the senses. The Virgin of Candelaria is the patron saint of Puno; this festival honors the saint with one of the regions most celebrated and elaborate festivals, bringing together two major Andean cultures: the Quechuas from the north, the Aymaras from the south.
The celebrations begin on Monday with a costume and dance contest. Puno’s Virgin of Candelaria festival is one of South America’s most significant, rivaling Carnival in Rio de Janeiro and Bolivia’s Carnaval de Oruro. Take a quick look into last year’s event.