Folklore in Puno
Puno is considered the Folkloric Capital of Peru, there are more than 300 different local dances representing centuries old traditions inherited from the Incas and the colony. Folk dances and songs are accompanied by colorful costumes and masks to celebrate Catholic holidays or Inca celebrations related to the agricultural calendar. These celebrations are based on beliefs and myths of the relationship between men and god, to honor Andean gods, Catholic saints and the Virgin Mary.
Costumes can be very elaborate and imaginative; they are generally richly embroidered with shiny sequence and ornamental stones, feathers are not uncommon. Some dances require grotesque masks replicating demons or animals.
Celebrations or parties are accompanied by a band of at least 50 musicians playing a variety of instruments, from European influenced brass and string instruments to traditional wind and percussion instruments that have changed little since Inca times. Some of these instruments are: tinyas (wooden hand drums), wankaras (large drums used in battles), zampoñas (panpipes) and quenas (flutes). Among the most known dances are Endiablada, Llamerada, Marinera Puneña, Tuntuna, Waca Waca and Morenada.
Calendar of Festivities:
January 6 : Epiphany
February (first two weeks): Virgen de la Calendaria is the largest party that celebrates Puno’s patron saint.
Late February to early March: Carnaval, celebrated with dances, drinks and lots of balloons water bombs.
March 7-8: San Juan de Dios or Saint John
May (first week): Fiesta de las Cruces Alasitas, a miniature craft fair.
May (first week): Fiesta de Santa Cruz “Holy Cross” in Isla Taquille.
June (last week): San Juan “St. John”, San Pedro “St. Peter” and San Pablo “St. Paul”.
July (second week): Virgen del Carmen celebrated in Pucara.
July (third week): Santiago “Saint James” celebrated in Isla Taquille
September (third week): Virgen de la Gracia “Our Lady of Mercy” celebrated in Juliaca.
November (first week): PunoWeek, celebrates the legend of the origin of the Incas with a dramatization of the legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo raising from the waters of Lake Titicaca. It is a long week party that can get pretty wild.