Peru's Snow Star Festival

Every year, tens of thousands of pilgrims gather in Sinakara Valley, high in the Peruvian Andes, to celebrate Qoyllur Rit’i, or the Snow Star Festival. Dancers in multi-layered skirts and musicians with drums and flutes perform during the three-day festival, a celebration combining Catholic, Incan, and other indigenous beliefs. The centuries-old festival celebrates the stars, notes the reappearance of the Pleiades star cluster marking the start of the harvest season, honors Jesus Christ, and also honors the local glacier, which is held to be sacredUkukus (men dressed as mythical half-man, half-bear creatures) used to cut blocks of ice from the glacier to share with the community, believing the melted water had healing powers, but have now stopped, noting a decline in the size of the glaciers because of warming trends.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Geoff Robins / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Snowy Sahara, Dancing Devils, Cryptocurrency J-Pop

    The Singapore Zoo shows off its babies, ice blankets in the U.S., fog drifts in the U.K., Saudi Arabia opens its first automotive showroom solely for women, and much more.

  • Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty

    Photos of California's Deadly Mudslides

    Hillsides scorched by wildfires last month unleashed mudslides under heavy rainfall north of Los Angeles on Tuesday.

  • Bettmann / Getty

    50 Years Ago in Photos: A Look Back at 1968

    A half-century ago, much of the world appeared to be in a state of crisis, with protests around the world, the Vietnam War, and the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy. But there was some progress to be found as well.

  • Romeo Ranoco / Reuters

    The 2018 Procession of the Black Nazarene

    Earlier today, hundreds of thousands of Catholic devotees in Manila gathered together and climbed over each other to touch a centuries-old icon of Jesus Christ.

Join the Discussion