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A Collage of Color – Festival De La Virgen De La Candelaria

Dancers performing the Diablada. | Photo by Paula Soler-Moya

As you walk down the street you are surrounded by a myriad of masks and colorful costumes. Musicians playing panpipes and dancers clad in ostentatious outfits blend together into one pulsing procession of sound and movement. Within the city square, performers are convulsing beneath horned helmets, their steps alive with Diablada, the dance of the demons

It is the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria in Puno, Peru, a city known as the “folkloric capital of Peru” and located on the edge of Lake Titicaca. For two weeks in the beginning of February, this city comes alive as people celebrate the Virgen de la Candelaria, the patron saint of the city and an apparition of the Virgin Mary supposedly seen in 1392.

There is a great deal of dancing, music, and general revelry for the first fortnight of the month, after which time the city slips back into its normal, calm place among the ancient fog of the Andean highlands.

By : Erik Keithley