Fiesta del la Candelaria in Arequipa

The Fiesta de la Candelaria in Arequipa

Journal entry about Festival of Candelaria

 The Fiesta de la Candelaria is a festival in honor of the Virgin of Candelaria, patron saint of the city of Puno, Peru, held in the first fortnight of February each year. I am planning to attend the last part of the festival in Puno next week, but I got a little preview yesterday of Candelaria in Arequipa. February 2 is the first day of the fiesta and, my host, Adela told me in the morning that there would be a procession from the church of Santa Marta to the Plaza de Armas.

So I dressed and hot-footed it to the church and waited around with the performers for the mass to end when the Virgin would emerge from the church. There was a group of women right next to me and one of them handed me her beautiful shawl and hat to put on. We laughed as I modeled for the camera.

Cathy dressed in Candelaria costume

Finally the Virgin appeared, carried on a litter by about twenty women. She was accompanied by firecrackers, many bands, and the most colorfully costumed dancers you have ever seen. The procession lasted about an hour and was so upbeat and, well, festive, that I could not stop grinning.

Virgin of Candelaria being carried in parade.
Dancers costumes in Festival of Candelaria Parade
Diablo costumes in Festival of Candelaria Parade

I have edited some of the other images and video to give you a glimpse of the festival:

Other Blog Posts You May Find Interesting

5 thoughts on “Fiesta del la Candelaria in Arequipa”

  1. I really like the synchronized dancing… and don't be so surprised that Mary was carried by women… women are not nearly as demonized in catholic tradition as westerns like to claim… first off outside of Jesus, Mother Mary is easily the next most important character, I mean how much to you hear about Joseph… also Mary Magdalene was definitely a huge defining character to Jesus even if not to the later church… the decision to say she was a prostitute was not to demean her although i could see how it could be interpreted that way but was more to show that anyone no matter there state could find the favor of God… so it is actually praise to Magdalene in that sense because they used her Godly favor to show that no one is beyond saving… Also of course the devil offered the fruit to eve i mean are you kidding me?? you must remember in the church they truly believed these stories happened… so who had the better chance of convincing the other sex to eat the apple? I mean if Adam was like hey eve this snake told me we should eat this apple she would of just been like that's crazy and god told us not too and it would of ended right
    there so of course Satan had to convince eve… she was the hard case not the easy one

  2. Thanks,Nan. This parade is totally about the costumes. The dancers mostly all dance the same steps to basically the same music. Occasionally, you will see a few new steps, but it is apparent they are showing off the incredibly lavish costumes. I would love to see how many of them are made.

Leave a Comment

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