A holy festival in Peru: Celebrating the Virgin Mary

UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2017 05:19 PM IST 10 Photos
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Dancers take selfies after performing during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. The festival of La Candelaria is being celebrated in Puno every year since the 18th century. The Virgin of Candlemas is one of various representations of the famed Virgin Mary. The Catholic feast day is celebrated on February 2 to honour the purification of the Virgin Mary, forty days after the birth of Jesus. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

Dancers take selfies after performing during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. The festival of La Candelaria is being celebrated in Puno every year since the 18th century. The Virgin of Candlemas is one of various representations of the famed Virgin Mary. The Catholic feast day is celebrated on February 2 to honour the purification of the Virgin Mary, forty days after the birth of Jesus. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2017 05:19 PM IST
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Musicians perform for dancers on the shores of Lake Titicaca, as they practice for the Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. UNESCO declared the festival a cultural landmark in 2015. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

Musicians perform for dancers on the shores of Lake Titicaca, as they practice for the Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. UNESCO declared the festival a cultural landmark in 2015. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2017 05:19 PM IST
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Dancers put on their costumes near the shore of Lake Titicaca prior to their performance for Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. Some competing groups wear shoes made of alpaca skin, collars hung with ears of corn and hats adorned with old coins or the bright-colored feathers of Amazonian birds. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

Dancers put on their costumes near the shore of Lake Titicaca prior to their performance for Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. Some competing groups wear shoes made of alpaca skin, collars hung with ears of corn and hats adorned with old coins or the bright-colored feathers of Amazonian birds. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2017 05:19 PM IST
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Dancers perform during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in downtown Puno, Peru. "We have danced this way since the time of our grandparents," said 75 year-old Martin Mamani, who had made the trek from the village of Esmeralda. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

Dancers perform during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in downtown Puno, Peru. "We have danced this way since the time of our grandparents," said 75 year-old Martin Mamani, who had made the trek from the village of Esmeralda. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2017 05:19 PM IST
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Dancers perform during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. Some dances gesture toward everyday village activities such as grazing llamas or shearing animals. Others depict the Spanish conquest or the conscription of villagers as soldiers. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

Dancers perform during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. Some dances gesture toward everyday village activities such as grazing llamas or shearing animals. Others depict the Spanish conquest or the conscription of villagers as soldiers. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2017 05:19 PM IST
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Dancers get ready near Lake Titicaca prior to their performance at Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. The festivities start this week. (Rodrigo Abd/ AP)

Dancers get ready near Lake Titicaca prior to their performance at Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. The festivities start this week. (Rodrigo Abd/ AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2017 05:19 PM IST
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Dancers eat lunch after performing during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. In addition to adults, young children dance with their families in groups of as many as 400 people, including musicians who play flutes and other traditional instruments. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

Dancers eat lunch after performing during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. In addition to adults, young children dance with their families in groups of as many as 400 people, including musicians who play flutes and other traditional instruments. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2017 05:19 PM IST
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Dancers wait for their turn to perform during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. In addition to devotion, villagers have different reasons to dance during the feast. Some are grateful to have been cured of disease, while others ask for protection for their crops, or increase in political power. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

Dancers wait for their turn to perform during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. In addition to devotion, villagers have different reasons to dance during the feast. Some are grateful to have been cured of disease, while others ask for protection for their crops, or increase in political power. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2017 05:19 PM IST
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A dancer reads a newspaper while waiting to perform during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. As many as 40,000 villagers are expected to gather for the annual festival and show their respect for the patron saint of the communities along the shores of Lake Titicaca. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

A dancer reads a newspaper while waiting to perform during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. As many as 40,000 villagers are expected to gather for the annual festival and show their respect for the patron saint of the communities along the shores of Lake Titicaca. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2017 05:19 PM IST
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Dancers waiting for their turn to perform during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. Anthropologist Henry Flores, who has studied indigenous dances in the town of Puno, said "There’s always been a lack of respect for the countryside. But when the villagers participate, they are saying, ‘I am present’ and the people from the city are only spectators." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Dancers waiting for their turn to perform during Virgin of Candelaria celebrations in Puno, Peru. Anthropologist Henry Flores, who has studied indigenous dances in the town of Puno, said "There’s always been a lack of respect for the countryside. But when the villagers participate, they are saying, ‘I am present’ and the people from the city are only spectators." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

UPDATED ON FEB 02, 2017 05:19 PM IST
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