The Inti Raymi in Perú is a tourist festival that vindicates the ancient ‘Wawa Inti Raymi’ ceremony practiced by the Incas in the city of Cusco, the capital of the Tahuantinsuyo empire. This celebration has such significance for the Cusco city that that day (June 24) is declared a holiday.
The celebration consists of a massive staging representing the ceremonies that the Incas performed in the Coricancha temple, the Plaza de Armas and the Sacsayhuaman fortress. Later, at night, the festivities of the population is generalized.
What is Inti Raymi?
The Inti Raymi is and means “Sacred Festival of the Sun”. Its historical origin dates back to the beginnings of the Inca Empire in Cusco, although it also had special relevance in the Andean north of present-day Ecuador.
Since its origins, the basic foundation of this festivity, the most important in the festive calendar of the indigenous peoples of the Andes, is the Cult of the Sun, the land (La “Pacha Mama”) in the Kichwa language.
So, what is Inti Raymi? It was and continues to be a festivity of high spiritual connotation as well, for the Spanish, the Inti Raymi was translated as “Solemn Easter of the Sun”.
Origin of the Inti Raymi in Perú
During Inca times, Cusco was the scene of four great festivals, of which the most important was the Inti Raymi. This festival had its first appearance with the Inca Pachacútec around 1430.
The Incas met every winter solstice in the imperial city to welcome the Sun God. On the night of June 23-24, the torches of Tahuantinsuyo would go out to await the sunrise, which on that day is at its peak most distant from the earth.
At this time, up to 50,000 people came to Cusco from all parts of the empire to be part of the celebrations that lasted around 15 days. During these two weeks, all the attendees, among whom were the Inca and his family, priests, nobles and other personalities of Tahuantinsuyo, met in the current Plaza de Armas. In this place dances were performed, chicha was drunk, coca leaves were burned and, according to historians, around 200 llamas were sacrificed in honor of the god Inti.
All these celebrations were carried out to thank said god for the harvests of the year and for everything provided on earth. Thus, on June 24 the Inca arrived at the Plaza de Armas to wait for the sunrise and toast with a glass of chicha, from which his family also drank and whose remains were thrown to the ground.
After this, a pilgrimage was made to the temple of Qorikancha, where the celebrations continued. Due to the importance of this celebration, for the Incas June 24 and the Inti Raymi Festival marked the beginning of a new year.
Formerly the Inti Raymi in Perú lasted 15 days and began with the winter season. The last festival took place in 1535 and was attended by the Inca, just one year before the arrival of the Spanish in 1536. This ritual consisted of thanking the sun for the heat it gives to the earth and the fertilization that you will have for your future harvests.
Where is Inti Raymi Celebrated 2023?
On the day of the Summer Solstice, June 22, special rituals of worship to the Sun are performed in the place where, at noon, it does not cast any shadow: in the city of Quito, Middle of the World and in the nearby archaeological sites and ruins of Rumicucho and Cochasquí, ancient ceremonial centers and observatories of the Sun and the Universe.
These ceremonies, although they include elements of ancestral traditions, have been mixed in part with somewhat more mestizo conceptions of the festival. However, they are still a singular attraction for many visitors, both national and foreign.
But, where is Inti Raymi celebrated? At present the Inti Raymi Festival is celebrated with special force in the northern Andean provinces of Ecuador and consists of several days, sometimes weeks and even months of multicolored festivities, loaded with ancestral symbolisms, from the indigenous worldview.
Great rituals of dance, music and a spectacular display of color are performed in the costumes and costumes of the actors, who are joined by the majority of the population itself.
Also, another place where is Inti Raymi celebrated is in Cusco. The staging takes place in 3 specific sites in Cusco with great historical significance:
- Coricancha: The Temple of the Sun or Coricancha, from the early hours of the day, begins the Fiesta del Sol. This representation takes place in the so-called Golden Garden. It begins with the appearance of the Inca. The first rituals offer coca leaves, llamas, alpacas and more. The staging is free. You should only go to El Sol Avenue from the early hours of the day. The staging begins at 09:00 a.m. and lasts 45 minutes on average.
- Plaza de Armas: The historic center of Cuzco is the nerve center of the Fiesta del Sol celebrations. The Plaza de Armas is cordoned off. The Inca is carried on litters by eight servants and performs the so-called Coca Ceremony. There is a platform for tourists who purchased their ticket. However, most visitors have to observe the ritual performance standing up. The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. and lasts about an hour.
- Sacsayhuaman: The Chuquipampa esplanade in the Sacsayhuaman fortress is the main setting for the Inti Raymi performance. This place enjoyed great importance during the Inca period. Today only access to the public with an entrance ticket is allowed. There are 3 platforms or stands equipped for tourists. The staging begins at 01:30 p.m. and lasts almost two hours.
Visit this 3 sites in a City Tour in Cusco.
How is Inti Raymi celebrated in Perú 2023?
Every June 24 of every year, the department of Cusco becomes the main tourist attraction for the celebration of Inti Raymi Festival, where thousands of tourists travel to this point with the aim of living one of the best cultural experiences of this mystical city.
There are three points where this festivity takes place, first a greeting to the sun is given in the Coricancha Temple, today known as the Convent of Santo Domingo, then they go to Haucaypata, where the Inca and the mayor of Cusco have a meeting. Finally, the central ceremony is held on the esplanade of Sacsayhuamán, located in the north of Cusco, at about 3 671 m.a.s.l.
The Inti Raymi Festival consists of songs in Quechua, typical music and colorful characters with costumes from that time. Those who participate in this celebration are the ñusta, coyas, pallas and the delegates of the four yours.
Finally, the Inca makes his appearance and is carried on his shoulders on a gold-plated walker, accompanied by the orejones (people in charge of carrying the Inca). During the show, the women called “acllas” are chosen to sing sweetly to the Inca and the Sun God. Finally, the Inca is in charge of speaking and thanking the Sun.
Recommendations for the holiday:
- Do not forget the sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
- Wear comfortable clothes to be able to move around.
- Bring drinks, the holiday has a long duration and the body must stay hydrated, in addition to carrying some fruits to eat.
- The most important thing is not to forget to buy your tickets for this magnificent Inca show.
- You cannot miss this magical celebration of our ancestors, where a tribute is paid to the Sun God. Enjoy the Inti Raymi and its staging!