Saturday, February 20, 2010

Virgen de la Candelaria Festival - Puno

Living in Peru
17 February, 2010
Photos and essay by Andrew Dare

The first two weeks of February sees one of the largest fiestas in South America in Puno, next to lake Titicaca: the spectacular Festival of the Virgen de la Candelaria.

Puno’s Virgen de la Candelaria statue — Mary with a child in one hand and a green candle in the other — was brought from Spain sometime between 1580 and 1590. It is thought to have been made in Seville or Cadiz.As the local story goes, in the 1700s, the Spanish rulers in Puno were under attack from an Inca uprising lead by Tupac Amaru. Some 12,000 men were gathered in the hills round Puno, many more than in the city itself. The worried locals took the statue of the Virgin de la Candelaria out from the church for a long procession round the town, they say, coupled with dancing and loud music that lasted into the night.
The story goes that this put off the imminent attack, as the rebels left worried and unsure just how powerful and how many people were actually in Puno. Ever since, the Virgin is venerated and held high as the patron of Puno.


GreenTracks Lake Titicaca/Puno programs



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