Calendar of Feasts and Festivals in Puno

Puno is a city on the move every day of the year; it is hard not to find a festival, like the one celebrating Our Lady of Candlemas, where dancers rock the stones of the Altiplano. Wearing brightly colored outfits, showy costumes and intricate masks, dancers twist and turn to the beat of the music, punctuated with drums and reed pipes, as if they were thanking the earth and the sky for the blessings of this unique city on the shores of Lake Titicaca.


Feast of "Virgen de la Candelaria"
February 2 (central day)
For 18 days, the highland town of Puno, nestled on the shores of Lake Titicaca at an altitude of 3.870 meters above sea level, is becomes the Folk Capital of the Americas. The festival gathers more than 200 groups of musicians and dancers to celebrate the Mamacha Candelaria.


February - March (Movable)
Peruvian carnivals are marked by the festive character of Andean areas, which regularly break with their solemn traditions Peruvians across the country are extremely fond of tossing buckets of water at each other during this festival, so onlookers would be wise to take precautions. Cities where carnivals reach a high point include Cajamarca and Puno. The celebration date is movable, generally during the first fifteen days of February. The celebrations last almost a month, since the preparation activities; the central days are just one week from Wednesday to Wednesday. The citizens organize in commissions by districts.


Easter Week

March - April (Movable)
Easter week represents the peak of religious sentiment for the people of the Andes. The week starts out with the entry of Jesus into the city riding on a donkey. On Wednesday, the images of the Virgin Mary and Saint John are paraded in fervent processions through streets carpeted with flower petals until they meet up with the litter bearing the image of Christ, whom they"greet" in the main square. On the evening of Holy Friday, the lights of the city wink out to give way to the Christ of Calvary. The image sets out from the church in a procession through the streets on a litter strewn with white roses, followed by the grieving Virgin Mary and lines of men and women strictly dressed in mourning bearing lit candles. The litter, which features thousands of white candles, is simply magnificent. The litter is then accompanied with prayers and songs throughout the night until the three-hour sermon is delivered on Saturday. After days of grieving, Resurrection Sunday takes on a festive air, Christ is resurrected and appears once more on his litter and is carried through the streets.


Alacitas Fair (Thumbnails)
May 1
This is a festival featuring the sale of miniatures, in the form of figures and household objects. In the Aymara language, Alacitas means "buy," and that is precisely what is done in this fair, where the character is the most sought Ekeko, a fat man, considered as a sort of god of fortune, who "charge" the dreams of people who buy it. The "yatiris" specialists in ritual and medicine, bless property acquired during the fair.


Feast of the "Santa Cruz" (Saint Cross)
May 3


Feast of "Santiago Apóstol"

July 25
(Pomata, Lampa, Simple, Taquile, Amantani) The natives identified the Christian apostle Santiago, with Illapa, the Inca god that represented the ray. Masses and processions, and dance to the music of the sikus (type of flute square resembling the bagpipe) and zampoñas (various flutes put together). There are also bullfights fun.


Feast and fair of "La Asunción"

August 15
(Yunguyo, Azángaro, Cabin)


Feast and fair of the "Virgen de la Gracia"

September 24


All Saints Day and Day of the Dead
November 1 and 2
Speaking to the souls of the departed On these days, which are dedicated to the memory of the dead, Peruvians tend to attend Mass and then in coastal communities, head to the cemetery, bringing flowers and in the highlands, food to share symbolically with the souls of the dead. The worship of the dead was a common and respected custom during pre-Hispanic times in Peru, and part of that tradition, combined with Christian elements, still lives on today.


Anniversary of the founding of the city of Puno

November 4
Civic events and dancing in the streets of the city by school students, as well as the staging of the legend of the founders of Cuzco and the Inca dynasty, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo


Feast of the "Immaculada"

December 8
(Lampa, Juli, Macusani, and Paucarcolla)




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