Discover Inti Raymi The Inca God Sun Festival

Past, Present and tips for the Inti Raymi Festival, the Inca’s New Year in Cusco, Peru.

The Inti Raymi was the most important ancestral festival in the Inca lands (Tahuantinsuyo) to which about 25,000 people used to attend during the 15 days it used to last in the 15th century.

Now it is considered to be the second most important festival in South America, after Rio de Janeiro’s carnival.

Every June 24, the God Sun is the main protagonist of one of the most important and traditional festivals celebrated in Peru and South America: The Inti Raymi or “Fiesta del Sol”. In Quechua Inti means Sun and Raymi celebration. Inti Raymi is the celebration of the God Sun, the most venerated god in the Inca religion.

The Inca emperor, as well as the Cusco nobility, were considered natural children of the Sun; to it they obeyed their existence, and that is why they had to thank and tribute with sacrifices and offerings.

This festival was established in Cusco by Pachatutec, the first Inca, in the 1430 A. C. to celebrate the winter solstice of the southern hemisphere which marked the first day of the New Year in the Inca calendar. On this day is when the Sun is farthest from the Earth and it is the shortest day of the year.

This festival was established in Cusco by Pachatutec, the first Inca, in the 1430 A. C. to celebrate the winter solstice of the southern hemisphere which marked the first day of the New Year in the Inca calendar. On this day is when the Sun is farthest from the Earth and it is the shortest day of the year.

In 1572, the Inti Raymi was prohibited by the Spanish viceroy Francisco de Toledo as it was considered a pagan ceremony and contrary to the Catholic faith. The festival was still held in secret for about 400 years, although not with the same grandiosity as now the Inca emperor wasn’t there to officiate it. In 1944, Faustino Espinoza Navarro, a Peruvian written who promoted the Inca and Quechua customs, was able to introduce back this one and only celebration.

Today, the tradition is maintained as a theatrical representation charged with mysticism and spirituality. During this date, thousands of national and foreign tourists walk the streets of the historic Cusco, Peru, and gather to experience closely a special day of cultural activities, with the aim to keep the Inca legacy.

intiraymi-2

There are about 700 people, including actors, dancers and musicians who – dressed in typical clothing – star in a series of staging’s that include dances, performances and praises performed outside the Qorikancha complex and the Sacsayhuamán fortress, as well as in the Plaza of Arms of the city.

The triumphant return of the Sun on the shortest day and on the longest night renews the nature and it is reason for joy and celebration. So the Inca and his entourage pay their respects and admiration to the Sun, the Inca says a prayer in the Quechua language and simulates a sacrifice so that a shaman can predict the prosperity and well-being of the coming year.

The Inti Raymi is not an exclusive celebration of Cusco, since most of the Andean populations continue presenting their offerings every June 24 in countries such as Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, northern Argentina and Colombia.

 

Source: Andina / Rpp / Latam / BoletoMachuPicchu

Experts’ Tips

If you are planning to attend this amazing Celebration, we here leave you a couple of tips:

Tickets

Be sure you have your tickets and hotels reservations well in advance, many travelers from all over the world attend this amazing show and availability is usually a problem is you do not plan the trip in advance.

Altitude Sickness

To prevent altitude sickness and enjoy the day to the fullest, consider drinking coca leaves tea, plenty of water, have light meals and walk slowly. If in doubt, contact your doctor before your trip as there is medicine specifically for the altitude sickness.

Weather

Take a sun blocker, sunglasses, a hat and plenty of water. Usually it’s really sunny as it is the dry season in Cusco. It may not be really hot, but due to the altitude you can feel the sun burning.

Dress in layers. Usually you do not need to take big coats along with you during the festival, but it may start as a cool day and as hours pass by (this is a full day event), the sun gets hotter.

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In June 2022 this festival will take place once again in Cusco, since it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic… so everyone is waiting for the Inti Raymi to be back.

You can also be there, don’t miss it and book your spot in advance!

Thinking 

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to Peru?

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