Vehicles are blessed with beer and people gather for days to celebrate in a mixture of Catholic and native religions.
The Virgen de la Candelaria is revered for a series of miracles, recounted in Nuestra Senora de Copacabana. Legend has it in 1576, some Inca fisherman were caught in a terrible storm on Lake Titicaca. As they prayed for help, the Virgin Mary appeared and led them to safety. In gratitude, they built a shrine containing a statue of the Virgin, which was sculpted by the Inca craftsman Tito Yupanqui the same year.
Bolivian celebrants believe the virgen prefers to stay inside the Basilica built in her honor. When take outside, there is a risk of storm or other calamity.
On the third day of the fiesta, 100 bulls are gathered in a stone corral along the Yampupata road, and the some of the more brave and/or drunk revelers jump into the arena and try to avoid being attacked.