Peru Spotlight: UNESCO recognizes Puno Candelaria festivities

Bragging rights go to the Puno Candelaria, a huge festivity that was recently named a piece of Peru's intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.
by Kathleen McAfee

Peru is a country known for its rich history, mysterious ancient ruins and deep cultural roots. And it should come as no surprise that one of the most recent UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage recognitions has been bestowed upon Puno’s elaborate celebration of the Feast Day of the Virgin of Candlemas (La Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria). The festival is celebrated every year during the first 2 weeks of February and is marked by parades, brightly colored costumes, live traditional music and dancing and even fireworks.

What to expect

Fireworks at Cndelaria festivities in Puno, PeruImpressive pyrotechnic displays light up Puno’s many celebrations.
Photo provided by Latin America for Less

The history of the festival dates back to the era of the Spanish Viceroy of the 16th century, but has grown into a lively celebration and ultimately the party of the year in Puno city. Every year, the festivities include tens of thousands of dancers in vibrant costumes and 5,000 musicians who reenact hundreds of traditional dances. Preparations for the festival are extensive and start almost a year in advance, involving more than 25,000 costume makers, choreographers and sponsors. In terms of number events which take place during the festival as well as the number of people involved, Puno’s Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria is the third largest festival in South America, behind Carnival in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Carnaval de Oruro in Bolivia.

Additional UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage practices in Peru

A man from the Island of Taquile weaving a piece of cloth, Lake TiticacaThe people of the Island of Taquile in Lake Titicaca are known for their beautifully woven handicrafts which has gain international recognition by UNESCO since 2005.
Photo by Ana Castañeda Cano/Latin America for Less

The Puno Candelaria festivities celebrating the feast day of the city’s patron saint are among 5 other UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage practices unique to the country of Peru. The textile crafts of the Island of Taquile of Lake Titicaca and the original scissor dance known as Danza de las Tijeras have also made the list of Intangible Heritage traditions.

Want to experience one of South America’s most lively celebrations? Contact us now and we can help book your trip to Puno and the Lake Titicaca region in Peru!