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 merging Catholic traditions and age-old Andean customs, rites and symbols.
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 Carnival of Puno is celebrated in honor of the Virgin of Candelaria, the patron saint of the city.
The Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria of Puno was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014 by the UNESCO.
The festival in 2017 is celebrated from the 3rd to the 8th of February; Monday 6th of February is the main day when the dancers and folkloric groups take over the streets.