Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.34

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Peru has nominated Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria of Puno (No. 00956) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria, celebrated each February in the city of Puno, includes activities of religious, festive and cultural character that draw on Catholic traditions and symbolic elements of the Andean worldview. The main festival commences at the beginning of the month with a daybreak mass, followed by an ancient purification ceremony. A liturgical act the next morning leads into a religious procession, as the image of the Virgin is carried aloft along the streets accompanied by traditional music and dancing. The festival continues with two contests that attract numerous groups gathering several thousand dancers and musicians from across the region. The main practitioners are rural and urban inhabitants of the Puno region who belong to the Quechua and Aymara ethnic groups. Many emigrants from Puno also return to participate, reinforcing a sense of cultural continuity. Three regional federations of practitioners cooperate to organize the festivity and preserve the traditional knowledge and skills associated with dance, music and mask-making. Rehearsals and crafts workshops are the places where these skills are passed on to younger generations. The festivity closes with a ceremony for the Virgin, a parade and farewell masses.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List:

R.1:   Combining religious rituals with traditional music, dances and craftsmanship, the Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria gathers the Quechua and Aymara communities of Puno and the surrounding region, who inherited this knowledge and skills from their elders and transmit them to the young, providing them with a sense of continuity and belonging;

R.2:   Its inscription on the Representative List could contribute to awareness of the ability of intangible cultural heritage to create spaces for exchange, social cohesion and celebration of the diversity of religious beliefs and cultural expressions, while testifying to respect and dialogue between communities;

R.3:   Safeguarding measures, reflecting the combined efforts and commitment of community associations, local, regional and national government institutions as well as universities, include training and promotional activities, inventorying and research;

R.4:   The Regional Federation of Folklore and Culture of Puno together with community associations, local and regional government as well as academic institutions participated in all stages of the elaboration of the nomination; evidence of free, prior and informed consent was provided by the communities concerned;

R.5:   The Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria of Puno was declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation in 2003 by the Ministry of Culture; these declarations are supported by a dossier prepared by the concerned community of bearers.

  1. Inscribes Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria of Puno on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Takes note that music, dances and crafts are not the main subject of the nomination, as indicated in the file, and that cultural expressions associated with the Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria of Puno are shared by Andean communities from the region;
  3. Recalls that inscription on the Representative List does not imply exclusivity.