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Thousands of Peruvian pilgrims attend Snow Star Festival
Tens of thousands of pilgrims crowd an Andean valley, with dancers in multi-layered skirts and musicians with drums and flutes performing non-stop over three days. 
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In this May 24, 2016 photo, an "ukuku" pledge places his hands on the ice of the Qullqip'unqu mountain glacier, kneeling before a cross as he is whipped three times by an ukukus leader, in an induction ceremony, as part of the syncretic festival Qoyllur Riti, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. New recruits promise to make the pilgrimage three years in a row. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 23, 2016 photo, pilgrims dressed as "Ukukus", mythical half-man, half-bear creatures, eat soup gifted by parishioners at a parish in the city of Occongate, in Peru's Cusco region. The group of Ukukus, who are part of a "nation" that include musicians and dancers, met up in the town of Paucartambo, and traveled in the bed of a farm truck to the Sinakara Valley to take part in the syncretic festival Qoyllur Riti, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 24, 2016 photo, men dressed as mythical half-man, half-bear creatures called "Ukukus", watch as their leader whips a pledge during an induction ceremony on the Qullqip'unqu mountain glacier as part of the syncretic festival Qoyllur Riti, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. Ukukus are comprised only of men. Ukuku is derived from the Quechua word to describe bear. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 24, 2016 photo, a young boy descends the Qullqip'unqu mountain looking out at the tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered to celebrate the three-day festival Qoyllur Riti, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, in the Andean Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. The celebration that mixes Catholic and indigenous beliefs honors Jesus as well as the areas glacier, which is considered sacred among some indigenous people. While the native celebration is far older, the Christian part of the ritual stretches back to the 1700s, when Jesus is said to have appeared to a young shepherd in the form of another boy. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 24, 2016 photo, a musician lugs his drum home after breaking camp at the base of the Qullqip'unqu mountain, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region, at the Sanctuary of the Lord of the Qoyllur Riti, taking part in the festival of the same name, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star. After three days of praying and dancing for health, peace and prosperity, the pilgrims head home with the expectation they will perform the ritual again next year. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 23, 2016 photo, "Ukukus", representing mythical creatures of half-man, half-bear, watch a group of dancers perform outside the Sanctuary of the Lord of the Qoyllur Riti, as part of the syncretic festival of the same name, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, at the base of the Qullqip'unqu mountain, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. The ukukus are organized into militaristic groups with strict rules overseen by a corporal. They help to maintain order and act as intermediaries between the pilgrims and the Gods. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 23, 2016 photo, pilgrims wait for the start of a procession to the Sanctuary of the Lord of the Qoyllur Riti, as part of the syncretic festival of the same name, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. Religious processions, dance and music are central to the three-day celebration. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 24, 2016 photo, an "Ukuku", man dressed as a mythical half-man, half-bear creature, kneels in prayer before a cross on the glacier of the Qullqip'unqu mountain, as part of the the syncretic festival Qoyllur Riti, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. On the last night of the festival, the ukukus climb more than 4,500 meters in freezing temperatures up to the glacier where they spend the night worshipping and commiserating with Apus or the mountain gods. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 23, 2016 photo, pilgrims wait for the start of a procession to the Sanctuary of the Lord of the Qoyllur Riti, as part of the the syncretic festival of the same name, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. Tens of thousands of pilgrims crowd into the Andean valley, with dancers in multi-layered skirts and musicians with drums and flutes performing non-stop for the three-day festival. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 24, 2016 photo, children mount a horse after breaking camp at the base of the Qullqip'unqu mountain, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region, where they spent the last 3 days at the Sanctuary of the Lord of the Qoyllur Riti, taking part in the festival of the same name, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star. The gathering is held every year shortly before the Christian feast of Corpus Christi and draws as many as 100,000 people to the Quispicanchis province. It also coincides with the reappearance of the star cluster Pleiades in the Southern Hemisphere, signaling the harvest season. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 24, 2016 photo, "Ukukus", men dressed as mythical half-man, half-bear creatures, light candles on the glacier of the Qullqip'unqu mountain, as part of the syncretic three-day festival Qoyllur Riti, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. In recent years, the pilgrims have noted a decline in the size of the glaciers because of warming trends. In hopes of preventing additional ice melting, the ukukus no longer use the large candles that were once common in the ritual. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 23, 2016 photo, a Quechua woman waits for a religious procession to file past so she can cross the road, during the second day of the syncretic festival Qoyllur Riti, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. The festival coincides with the reappearance of the star cluster Pleiades in the Southern Hemisphere, signaling the harvest season. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 24, 2016 photo, a pilgrim carrying his son on his back, plays a traditional Andean flute known as a quena, as he walks the five miles to the Sanctuary of the Lord of the Qoyllur Riti, to take part in the syncretic festival of the same name, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 24, 2016 photo, men dressed as "Ukukus", mythical half-man, half-bear creatures, huddle together to keep warm, as they take a break from their spiritual trek to the top of the Qullqip'unqu mountain, as part of the syncretic three-day festival Qoyllur Ritâi, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. On the last night of the festival, the ukukus climb more than 4,500 meters in freezing temperatures to the mountainâs glacier, carry crosses up the slope to spend the night at the top. They later descend with their crosses as the first rays of the morning sun spread across the mountain range and are met by reception groups of women and children. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 24, 2016 photo, men dressed as mythical half-man, half-bear creatures, known as an "Ukukus", descend the Qullqip'unqu mountain accompanied by a receiving party of women and children, on the last day of the three-day festival Qoyllur Riti, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. The celebration that mixes Catholic and indigenous beliefs honors Jesus as well as the areas glacier, which is considered sacred. Many of the pilgrims are very worried about the state of this sacred place as they see the mountain glacier slowing disappearing because of warming trends. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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Pilgrims representing the Paucartambo indigenous nation, dressed as mythical half-man, half-bear creatures, known as "Ukukus" in the Quechua language, carry a cross up Mount Ausangate for the Qoyllur Riti festival, held in the Sinakara valley near the town Mahuayani in Peru's Cusco region, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. The annual festival based on the Andean calendar, combines Catholic, Incan and ancient Andean traditions, and is considered a celebration of the stars. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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Pilgrims gather at the sanctuary set up for the Qoyllur Riti festival in the Sinakara valley, near the town Mahuayani in Peru's Cusco region, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. The annual, three-day festival based on the Andean calendar, combines Catholic, Incan and ancient Andean traditions, and is considered a celebration of the stars. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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In this May 24, 2016 photo, men dressed as mythical half-man, half-bear creatures called "Ukukus", descend the Qullqip'unqu mountain glacier carrying a cross on the last day of the syncretic festival Qoyllur Riti, translated from the Quechua language as Snow Star, in the Sinakara Valley, in Peru's Cusco region. The ukukus also used to cut away blocks of ice from the glacier to bring down to share with the community in the belief that the melted held magical healing powers, but no longer noting a decline in the size of the glaciers because of warming trends. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Thousands of Peruvian pilgrims attend Snow Star Festival

Tens of thousands of pilgrims crowd an Andean valley, with dancers in multi-layered skirts and musicians with drums and flutes performing non-stop over three days. 

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