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Copacabana’s main religious fiestas are the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria (Feb 2) and the Coronación de la Virgen de Copacabana (Aug 5), which attract thousands of pilgrims from across Bolivia and southern Peru. The Virgin’s statue is paraded around town accompanied by brass bands and dance troupes and several days of festivities culminate in bullfights in the ring on the town’s northern outskirts. Semana Santa (Easter) is more solemn. Many pilgrims walk to Copacabana from as far away as La Paz in penance, and thousands more take part in a candlelit nocturnal procession up Cerro Calvario, where they pray for the forgiveness of their sins and success in the coming years. Far more mysterious, distinctly non-Christian ceremonies are staged on the night of June 21 to celebrate the winter solstice and Aymara New Year, when small crowds led by traditional Aymara religious leaders gather to perform ceremonies at the Horca del Inca and Intinkala, two ancient shrines on the outskirts of town.

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