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Candelaria (Bolivia)

February 2
Candelaria or Candlemas is a major holiday in Bolivia, where the Virgen de Candelaria is the country's patroness. The festivities focus on her shrine in the normally placid town of Copacabana on Lake Titicaca, where visitors begin to arrive in the week that precedes the festival. Aymará, Quechua, and Chiriwano Indians can be recognized by their colorful native costumes and musical instruments, and most begin dancing as soon as they arrive and continue till the end of the festival. The image of the Virgin Mary that stands on a revolving platform in the church is not the same one that is carried in the procession on February 2; a duplicate dressed in elaborate robes and precious jewels is used instead, because many years ago it was discovered that every time the statue was moved, big storms or other natural disasters were likely to follow.
Bolivian Embassy
3014 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
800-777-5777 or 202-483-4410; fax: 202-328-3712
FiestaTime-1965, p. 21
WildPlanet-1995, p. 461

Celebrated in: Bolivia

Candelaria (Peru)
A lively celebration of Candlemas is held in Puno, Peru, for about two weeks, including February 2. On that day priests and laypeople form a huge procession that carries the statue of the Virgin Mary through streets carpeted with yellow flowers. Preparations begin more than a week before, however, with church decorating, feasts, and fireworks. By the second week, hundreds of dancers and musicians have arrived to join the main procession, accompanying it with indigenous dances and colorful costumes.
Commission for the Promotion of Peru
Calle Uno Oeste No. 50, piso 13th
Urb. Corpac
Lima, 27 Peru
51-1-4224-3131; fax: 51-1-224-7134
FiestaTime-1965, p. 25
WildPlanet-1995, p. 487

Celebrated in: Peru

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