Watching some 15,000 musicians and 50,000 indigenous dancers performing around 200 different native dances was definitely a show not to be missed while we were in Puno, Peru. The Fiesta de la Candelaria is a festival held in honour of the Virgin of Candelaria, patron saint of Puno. It is the most important festival in Peru and one of the three largest festivals in South America along with the Rio and Oruro carnivals.

fiesta de la candelaria boy with flute

A normal sized man with some very big panpipes

fiesta de la candelaria 2 women laughing vert

fiesta de la candelaria women dancing

Whilst the Rio carnival is famous for the amount of sun-kissed skin on display, Puno’s festival is a much more traditional affair where indigenous peoples dress up in all kinds of colourful outfits, costumes, and masks and dance the day (and night) away to the ceaseless rhythms provided by musicians young and old. Many also seemed to be spurred on by sneaky sips of well concealed cans of cerveza along the way and frankly, who can blame them 🙂

virgen de la candelaira police and man w beer vertvirgen de la candelaira marching band

virgen de la candelaira girl and boy vertfiesta de la candelaria mafia man and indigenous man virt

The highlight of the dance procession for me was the “diablada”, a dance which traces it roots back to the legend of Peruvian miners trapped underground. While trapped they apparently saw an army of devils but because they all prayed to the virgin of Candelaria, she kept the devil from their backs and ensured they were all eventually rescued. The young men performing the dance at the festival were full of energy and highly impressive acrobatic moves. Just how they managed to keep dancing like that at an altitude of 3,800m is beyond me.

fiesta de la candelaria men jumping

fiesta de la candelaria bootsfiesta de la candelaria men with flutes 2fiesta de la candelaria man with mask

virgen de la candelaira men with flutes

virgen de la candelaira women sparkly dresses vertfiesta de la candelaria skirt woman

fiesta de la candelaria men and woman guitar

A normal sized guitar being played by a tiny man

fiesta de la candelaria man w flute and girl spectator

fiesta de la candelaria old and young woman vertfiesta de la candelaria two men guitar

As you can see the festival of the virgin of Candelaria really is an explosion of colours and costumes. Have you ever been to an indigenous festival or alternatively have you ever been trapped in a mine and danced with the devil?


About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

28 Thoughts on “An explosion of colours at the Fiesta de la Candelaria in Puno

  1. Okay…those are jut incredible pictures - but I especially love the first one! How adorable!
    Emily recently posted…Catedral de Sal: Going Underground to get Closer to HeavenMy Profile

  2. Such incredible costumes and so colorful! It seems like these people really are passionate about their customs, how wonderful 🙂
    Franca recently posted…Weekend Photo Theme – Textures (Part 1)My Profile

  3. Wow! These are brilliant pictures and what a fascinating festival. I love the bright coulours and the Picture of the ladies swirling around!

    I have seen a festival in Spain but I can’t remember what it was about except that they were wearing hooded whites! I’ve seen a festival in Indonesia and I’ve also seen a festival in a small african country called Benin but again, it was just too long ago and I can’t remember what it was about LOL!
    Victoria recently posted…Hollywood comes to Berlin at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival: The Berlinale, 2014.My Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on February 22, 2022 at 9:44 pm said:

      Thank you Victoria. I am glad you liked the photos. Having seen this festival actually made me want to go to more around the world now, as I loved every minute of it.

  4. Wow! You weren’t lying when you said a color explosion! What fabulous pictures! Really great post - makes me wish I had been there!!
    Phoebe (Short Road to Happy) recently posted…Dream Destinations 2014: Travelers’ ChoiceMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on February 26, 2022 at 9:15 pm said:

      Thanks Phoebe. I was blown away by all the different colours too. I only saw about two hours of the parade, but it went on for so much longer.

  5. Great pics.. the military guy’s (?) mask is bizarre!
    Adam Evans recently posted…5 Things to do in La PazMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on February 26, 2022 at 9:51 pm said:

      Thanks Adam. Yeah, I am not sure what that was all about. 🙂

    • Jorge Morales Avendaño on February 6, 2022 at 11:05 am said:

      This is an alive tradition, always evolving from its roots. The counterpart of those “military” dancers might be some “guerrillero” dancers, and the whole might represent the last decades of anti-drug war in the region. You will find the “corrupt politician”, the “drug lord” and the “smuggler” among the hundreds of characters represented during the festival as well.

  6. Absolutely incredible photographs! with such color and the people have such genuine joy on their faces! Love it, I have been to peru, but never here and never to festival! love love love
    Cacinda Maloney recently posted…La Mariposa: The Butterfly Invasion of Scottsdale, AZMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on February 27, 2022 at 7:34 pm said:

      Thank you Cacinda, what a lovely compliment! I didn’t know the festival was happening until the morning, so I was really lucky actually.

  7. I love how your photos capture the movement of the festival!

  8. Love the colours and would love to see it life! Already dreaming about all the nice pictures I could take on such event! Great! 🙂
    Marysia @ My Travel Affairs recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #59My Profile

  9. Fascinating! Thanks for sharing!
    Zof recently posted…Bratislava Street Art GalleryMy Profile

  10. Really beautiful pictures! I just love all those colours, it’s brillant!
    Marie-Carmen recently posted…Angkor in 20 photosMy Profile

  11. Tammyonthemove on March 3, 2022 at 5:07 pm said:

    Thanks so much Marie-Carmen. The colours are amazing, aren’t they? I could have clicked away on my camera all day long!

  12. Wow!! Such amazing colors, I am so in love with those photos! Great post. 🙂
    Dawn Kealing recently posted…The Dark Past of the Coyotepe Fortress…My Profile

  13. Valeria on October 30, 2021 at 2:47 pm said:

    Carnival of Puno is a crude imitation of the Great Oruro Carnival in Bolivia , I invite you to visit and enjoy the carnival of Oruro with its original and authentic dances including his music , thank you.


    • Tammyonthemove on February 25, 2022 at 3:33 pm said:

      The carnival in Oruro is great. We have been there. The celebrations in Puno, Peru are wonderful too though and I think there were a lot of differences. I very much enjoyed the parade in Puno, plus there wasn’t any foam sprayed at innocent gringos all the time. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

Post Navigation