Inti Raymi, the “Festival of the Sun”
In Quechua Inti means Sun and Raymi Celebration. Inti Raymi is the celebration of the God Sun, the most venerated god in Inca religion. According to the tradition, Inca Pachatutec created the Inti Raymi to celebrate the winter solstice which marked the first day of the New Year in the Inca calendar. The winter solstice begins on June 21st, but according to the Incas, the sun stays in the same place until the 24th when it finally rises. Therefore, every year the festivals begin on June 24 at eight o´clock in the morning, and take place in the city of Cusco.
The first day, the celebration takes place in the Koricancha (Temple of the Sun) and then in the main square of Cusco. The main event occurs on the esplanade of the fortress Sacsayhuaman, five kilometers from the city of Cusco. Large grandstands are installed for spectators, numbering in the thousands.
The ceremony was also said to indicate the mystical origin of the Incas, lasting nine consecutive days of colorful dances and processions, as well as animal sacrifices to ensure a good cropping season. All these rituals were accompanied by dances and sounds of shells and musical instruments. Men and women painted their faces yellow and wore heads of deers, whose antlers were used as musical instruments.
At the end of the celebration the Inca returned to his palace while women tossed red flowers and multicolored feathers.
Peruvians and people from around the world come to Cusco to see this beautiful celebration of the most venerated Gods in Inca religions. Some Cusqueños use the large field within the walls of the complex for jogging and other athletic activities.
We invite to our readers to visit and feel the magic of this incredible celebration in Cusco. To find more information about Sacsayhuaman, tours and activities in Cusco, please contact us or visit our website.