Inti Raymi is a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire. Did you know it is called as the Festival of the Sun? Read all about it here…
Inti Raymi is a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honour of the god Inti, which is Quechua for sun. The festival is called the “Festival of the Sun.” Inca is one of the most venerated deities in the Inca religion. The first Inti Raymi was held in 1412. The last Inti Raymi was held in 1535 in the presence of the Inca Emperor, after which the Spanish and the Catholic priests abolished it owing to their non-Christian nature. The Gregorian months of June and July are considered the winter months in places south of the equator. The celebration of Inti Raymi takes place each June, in conjunction with the South American winter solstice.
At present, the festival is celebrated on 24th June, coinciding with the city’s anniversary and attracts lakhs of visitors from Peru and all around the world. The festival starts in Cuzco city, the capital of the Inca Empire. From there, the locals go out to the fortress of Sacsayhuamán. Locals dressed colourfully wearing the woven ‘aya huma’ mask gather in Cuzco and walk to Sacsayhuamán. The dresses that are used today and the music played by the locals reflect the original ones that were used hundreds of years ago. Earlier, the festival lasted for 15 days, in which there were dances and sacrifices but these days they last for about 5 to 6 hours and focus on symbolic offerings of effigies and figurines.
Chronicle writer Garcilaso de la Vega has left behind fascinating descriptions about the rituals that were performed hundreds of years ago. At present, this yearly celebration, performed in Quechua is South America’s second largest festival after the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. Small-scale celebrations take place in Andes, and wherever the Quechua people have spread, including cities like Madrid and San Francisco.
This festival is a very good chance for immortalizing beautiful colourful moments during your trip to Peru. It is best for you to visit Peru in the month of June and experience the modern revival of this old ritual full of colours and tradition!