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Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun in Cusco

The history of this millenary celebration dates back to the start of Tahuantinsuyo, the Quechua term for the Inca Empire. Inti Raymi was the most important Inca festival and it represented their New Year celebration. This festival celebrated the return of the sun (Inti) and takes place during the winter solstice (June 24).  Many years ago, the festival involved sacrifices but now is all about symbolic offerings for the Inti to convince him to return to give life to the land.

Nowadays, Inti Raymi takes place at Coricancha, Cusco’s Temple of the Sun and visitors can see actors, dancers, and artists perform traditional music in the main stage and streets full of colorful costumes, Andean food and more. But this is not the end of the celebration, it is only the beginning.  The festival in honor of the Sun God is performed in the presence of the Inca, the Willaq Uma or High Priest, Tarpuntay, Wirapirikuq and Kallparikuy, as well as the nobles and representatives of the panacas, for which three impressive historical and natural scenarios are used:

Inti Raymi - Coricancha

Coricancha: Main temple of Cusco dedicated to the Sun, where it is said was the golden garden (here the first rituals of the worship of the Apu Inti and the Pacha Mama were performed, where they were buried numerous offerings, whose evidences found in 1972 are in the Garcilaso Museum of the INC).

Inti Raymi - Plaza de Armas

The Plaza Mayor (the old Auqaypata or Plaza del Guerrero): In the time of the Incas, in this immense plaza, the ceremony took place in the middle of the great Ushnu (ceremonial platform).

Inti Raymi - Sacsayhuaman

Saqsaywaman (voice derived from the Quechua terms "saqsay" and "waman", which translated into Spanish means "satiate falcon"). It is located at 3,555 m.s., a kilometer from the Inca district of Qollqanpata. It was the Royal House of the Sun and temple consecrated to the Lightning, according to Garcilaso. Here since 1944 the central part of the contemporary Inti Raymi takes place before an impressive crowd.

First-time visitors could see that people in Cusco prepare themselves for the celebration days before june 24, date when everyone will be able to appreciate a traditional festival with costumes, luxury banquets, festive music and historical recreations that you will never forget. Don’t miss Inti Raymi this year, come to Cusco!



Texts from:
Fiestas del Cusco, 
Pie Experiencies, Peru Hop
Images: Promperú

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