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INTI RAYMI, THE SUN FESTIVAL

inti raymi, sun festival, inca festival, cusco festival, peru festivals, inca traditions, sol inca
Inti Raymi Festival

Each Year on June -24 (The winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) Cusco celebrates The Inca Festival of the Sun Inti Raymi. Created by Inca Pachacutec, Inti Raymi was a tribute to the respect of the Sun God Inti. Nowadays, the festival draws thousands of locals and international visitors to the ancient Inca CapitalCusco. To celebrate one of the most important events of the calendar year.

Inti Raymi, Peru Festival

The modern-day re-enactment of Inti still retains all of its majestic glory, although without the procession of ancient mummies and just 1 animal sacrifice at the culmination of the day’s celebrations. The celebrations start in the morning of the large open cancha at the front of the Inca Temple of the SunKorikancha. With the arrival of representatives from the tribes of the Inca Empire (Qollasuyu, Kuntisuyu, Antisuyu y Chinchaysuyu) the Sapa Inca opens the festivities with invoking praise to the Sun GodInti. From Korikanca the royal entourage continues the short distance to Cuscos Plaza De Armas. A ceremonial reading of the sacred coca leaf then takes place to foresee the fate of the Inca Empire for the upcoming year. The Ancient Inca archaeological site of Saqsayhuman is where the final part of the re-enactment is played out. Thousands of local spectators crowed the surrounding hills for a glimpse of the ceremony while premium grandstand seats are available in the main area of Saqsayhuman. Dressed in full costume, the Inca delivers his final words in Quechua before a ritual sacrifice of a llama. The festival finishes as the air fills with the sound of horns, panpipes and beating drums.

Inti Raymi is a Quechua word meaning «Festival of the Sun«. Every winter solstice (between June 20 and 23) the Inca performed a ritual in honor of the sun, the highest divinity in the Tahuantinsuyo. It was formerly known as Wawa Inti Raymi. Pachacutec, who ordered the construction of Machu Picchu, began this religious-cultural tradition in the 15th century. According to the Andean cosmovision, at that time the sun began its cycle again. Since 1944, this tradition was reinstated in Cusco. Today, it is one of the most important celebrations in Peru. Its celebration includes dances, representations, typical costumes and a series of activities ideal for tourism.

How is the Inti Raymi celebrated?

inti raymi, sun festival, inca festival, cusco festival, peru festivals, inca traditions, sol inca

After 60 years, this singular celebration became part of the tradition in the city of Cusco. Today, its main feature is the colorful representation and history of the ancient ceremony of the Wawa Inti Raymi. This staging is performed by hundreds of actors in typical Inca costumes. The main role is played by the high priest Willaq Umo, the Inca nobility, the Inca and his wife the coya. There are also personifications of the Inca’s entourage, his delegates from the four of his own or corners of the Tahuantinsuyo. This staging lasts 1 day, in which the whole ‘Imperial City’ lives with joy the Feast of the Sun.

When does the Inca festival take place?

On June 24 of each year, Cusco celebrates the Inti Raymi. This date is because it coincides with the Day of the Peasant. In Cusco, this date was declared a holiday. June is considered the Jubilee Month of Cusco, not only because of the celebration of this feast but also because of the famous Corpus Christi.

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