Often referred to as the folkloric capital of Peru, Puno hosts the largest cultural festival with parades, music and dance performances, traditional costumes and lots of other activities each year at the beginning of February.
Celebrated to honor the Virgin of Candelaria, the patron saint of the city of Puno, the Festival de la Candelaria or Carnival of Puno is a huge event merging Catholic traditions brought to Peru by the Spanish conquerors and age-old Andean customs, rites and symbols.
The core of the festival is the music and dance performances including the costume dances and other traditional dances of the Andean Altiplano of Peru presented by tens of thousands of dancers and musicians.
In number of events and people involved, the Fiesta de la Candelaria is mentioned as third largest festival in South America after the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro and the Carnival de Oruro in Bolivia.
The Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria of Puno was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014 by the UNESCO.