Inti Raymi

Inti Raymi

Every year on the 24th of June Cusco celebrates the festival of Inti Raymi. This festival was celebrated by the Incas as the Festival of the Sun where the God of the Sun Wiracocha is honored. The Inti Raymi symbolizes the eternal consecration of marriage between the Sun and his sons, the human beings.

The ceremonies took place at the winter solstice, when the sun is farthest from the earth. Fearing the lack of sun and ensuing famine, the ancient Incas gathered in Cuzco to honor the Sun God and plead for his return. The celebrants fasted for days before the event, refrained from physical pleasures and presented gifts to the Inca, who in return put on a lavish banquet of meat, corn bread, chicha and coca tea as they prepared to sacrifice llamas to ensure good crops and fertile fields.

In the Andean Mythology it was considered that Incas are the descendants of the Sun, therefore, they had to render to him cultured with a sumptuous celebration annually. The festividad was carried out at the end of the harvest of potatoes, maize to thank for to the Sun the abundant harvests or on the other hand to request the good harvests during the next station.

For some years the Inti Raymi starts in the square in front of the Qorikancha,also known as the Santa Domingo in the Avenida del Sol (see picture). The Sapa Inca honors, with an eloquently strong voice, the blessings of the Sun and this most sacred day. After this initiation the procession moves with imperial dignity to the fortress of Sacsayhuamán. At the top the Inca is carried on a golden throne (see picture next page). The abundant gold and silver worn by the men and women, respectively, represent their status as the high society and invokes deep respect for their fallen empire.

Nowadays, the Inti Raymi is organized annually in Saqsaywaman, that same day also is the "Day of of the Indian" or "Day of the Farmer" in Peru. The Inti Raymi settled down in the calendar of festividad of the Cusco from 1.944.

During the ceremony the Inca is toasted with chicha (a fermented drink) poured into gold containers, one for the Inca, one for the Sun, and the third one for the mother land, mentioning also the Apus or gods of the earth.  As a fitting finale, the Inca gives a speech in the native language quechua.


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