The Inti Raymi is an ancient Inca religious celebration, where the Incas worshipped their God: “El Inti or Sun”. Formerly the Inti Raymi lasted about 15 days, where it was characterized by the realization of sacrifices and dances to worship the “Sun God”. The last Inti Raymi that took place with the presence of the Inca Emperor was in the year 1535; one year before the “Spanish Conquest” in 1536.
Currently the Inti Raymi is a theatrical representation, thousands of Cusqueños and people from all over the world come to this event that is one of the most important cultural and traditional manifestations of this part of the world. This Inca celebration makes each one of us feel the Inca blood that runs through our veins and revalue our past.
HISTORY OF INTI RAYMI
The “Inti Raymi” or “Festival of the Sun” was the biggest, most important, spectacular and magnificent festival celebrated in the times of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire, which based its religion on the cult of the Sun. The “Inti Raymi” was created to worship the “Apu Inti” (Sun God) also known in certain sectors as “Apu P’unchau” (Day God).
During the time of the conquest, the Inca’s subjects continued to celebrate the festival in secret from the Spanish authorities and a mestizo named “Garcilaso de la Vega” compiled the best of this festival and captured it in his famous work “Comentarios Reales” (Royal Commentaries).
Tribute to the Sun and Tradition: The Inti Raymi, an Ancestral Celebration.
At the time when the Inca to the Plaza de Armas or the esplanade of Saqsayhuaman was presided over by a group of “Acllas” who sprinkled flowers and in turn were accompanied by the “Pichaq”, men who were in charge of driving away with straw brooms the evil spirits that could be found on the way. The Inca in all his outdoor performances was always accompanied by his “kumillo”, or hunchbacked dwarf who carried the “Achiwa”, a kind of umbrella or umbrella of colored feathers.
Another part of the celebration of the “Inti Raymi” consisted of the ceremony of the new fire. In this part of the ceremony, the order of the Inca was fulfilled to extinguish the fire in all the stoves of Cusco and surroundings, in order to light the new fire that was distributed from a bonfire to all the stoves of the city. This is because the cooks are experts not only in cooking but also in maintaining the fire among the ashes.
The date on which Inti Raymi is celebrated every year is June 24 during the winter solstice, that is, the beginning of the Andean New Year, in addition this date also commemorates the anniversary of the city of Cusco.
5 REASONS NOT TO MISS INTI RAYMI
The Apogee of Cusco in the Month of June
- It is June 24 and Cusco is at its peak. It is the month when Cusco receives more tourists than the rest of the year. There is the opportunity to do much more, to meet people from different places and exchange experiences and anecdotes.
The Celebration of Inti Raymi in Sacsayhuaman
- Every June 24, the day when the sun is at its farthest point from the earth and which also coincides with the winter solstice, Sacsayhuaman celebrates the Inti Raymi or “feast of the Sun”, of fundamental importance in Inca times. It is the coldest day in Cusco, the weather in the morning is sunny. The weather is freezing, so it is recommended to bring something warm for when night falls.
Cusco Artists Representing the Incas
- The representation of each of the artists is impeccable. “Nivardo Carrillo” is the name of the actor who plays the Inca on a recurring basis. All these actors and actresses are Cusqueños by birth and will be dressed in Inca costumes, mostly made of sheep’s wool, alpaca, etc. Just as it was in Inca times.
Rites and Ceremonies During the Inti Raymi in Cusco
- Andean chants are heard in Quechua, adorations to the “Sun God”. The ”Acllas” women of singular beauty chosen to serve the Inca and the Sun God or Inti, are in charge of worshipping their god with sweet voices. The Inca speaks with the sun, also in Quechua, as in ancient times. There are 3 moments of great importance during the Inti Raymi in the city of Cusco: The greeting to the sun, in the ancient Temple of Qorikancha, today the Convent of Santo Domingo. Then comes the meeting of two times, in the Huacaypata or Plaza Mayor, between the Inca and the current mayor of Cusco. And finally the central ceremony takes place in the “Esplanade of the archaeological monument of Saqsayhuaman”.
Legal Recognition of Inti Raymi as Cultural Patrimony
- Finally, it is worth mentioning that the law N° 27431, dated March 3, 2001, recognizes that the “Inti Raymi” celebrated on June 24 of each year in the city of Cusco, Historical Capital of Peru, constitutes Cultural Heritage of the Nation, Official Act and Main Ritual Ceremony of National Identity.
If you want to be comfortable, the Inti Raymi is a celebration in which most people are standing, many people from Cusco and outside the country carry with them a stool to avoid standing all the time. Some tour companies offer 1 day tours for this celebration, check with your preferred agency regarding availability but keep in mind that being one of the busiest months for tourism in the city of Cusco may sell out many months in advance.
How the sun burns!
To this day has not been seen an Inti Raymi without sun. This day was always sunny, so you can not forget to apply sunscreen, and not only on the face, it is better on all parts of the body that will be uncovered as the arms, neck, ears, etc.. Also, have a sunscreen at hand, it is recommended to apply it every 45 minutes. It is also advisable to wear sunglasses and a hat or cap; it is no news that ultraviolet rays are attacking us more and more.
It is very likely to be hot that day and wearing jackets would be a point against us. A good pair of tennis shoes to walk a lot, the Inti Raymi lasts at least 7 hours, so you should be prepared. Weather statistics indicate that it will be a sunny day, dress in something that will not make you feel cold or hot, your comfort comes first.
Bring along some hydrating beverages
During the tour you will find points of sale of different types of food and drinks, generally the prices go up that day, for which it is better to be prepared, and buy drinks and some snacks before leaving, this way you will avoid problems and excessive expenses.
Always keep an eye on your personal belongings
Everywhere there are people with bad habits who are always on the lookout for victims. They usually take advantage of crowds to rummage through pockets and/or backpacks. It is highly recommended that on that day you do not carry valuables in backpacks and / or bags and always be aware of your belongings.