Inti Raymi Short Guide
Discover the most famous and significant celebration for the Incas, “the Festival of the Sun” or (Inti Raymi). As the sun was the center of worship for the Andean people. If you have heard of it then you will love to learn more about this sacred festivity.
What is Inti Raymi?
A large Inca celebration where the sun god was celebrated to bring him back to earth every winter solstice, as any of the earth’s poles reaches its maximum inclination with respect to the Sun. The festival is held in the sacred city of Cusco.
Inti Raymi celebrated by the Incas
At the time of the Incas the festivity was very sacred to the Incas. They believed that the sun was abandoning them and to bring it back it was necessary to have many parties, such as rituals and sacrifices of llamas.
Guaman Poma de Ayala and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega “chroniclers” wrote that the festivity of Inti Raymi was instituted by the Inca Pachacutec, in the 15th century.
“Inca Garcilaso was born from an Inca mother and a Spanish father. His mestizo identity helped him to write some of the most important books about the Incas”.
Garcilaso de la Vega also wrote that the Inti Raymi was a religious-cultural tradition, which was celebrated every winter solstice, on June 21, to honor the sun or Inti in Quechua language, in order to guarantee the crops and food for the population. At that time, the festivity lasted for 15 days, during which dances and animal sacrifices were offered to the maximum divinity of the Inca civilization.
Inti Raymi Today
On June 24, 1944, the Inti Raymi was staged for the first time at the Archaeological Park of Sacsayhuaman.
Currently this festival is traditionally celebrated with the participation of about 800 people for this important performance and takes place in three scenarios:
The temple of Qorikancha.
The event starts at 8 am, there is no seating which implies choosing the best place to be able to appreciate the performance standing. The best place is right in front of the temple of Qoricancha.
The Plaza de Armas
After spending a while enjoying the first scenification of the Inca and his wife, you will have to go to the Plaza de Armas (main square).
After a short time to enjoy the first performance of the Inca, now you will head to the Plaza de Armas. Here the crowds are much larger, although the best place to appreciate the performance are the balconies, it is impossible to find one.
The archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman
The event is finalized in Sacsayhuaman, however to enter a ticket is needed. This ticket costs around 100 USD, with the ticket you will be able to access and see the scenififcation seated and with the best view.
Today’s Inti Raymi is more traditional, this is a theatrical celebration. Actors and actresses play the role during the performance.
The celebration starts in the temple of Qoricancha. The actors speak in Quechua and are typically dressed as the Incas were during their important festivities.
The main character is the Inca who is chosen for having many characteristics in physical appearance, such as face, size, among many others. The Inca makes his entrance to the event carried on a litter by his servants, beautifully dressed, with silver and gold ornaments hanging on his dress, imposing power and victory over the tribes he conquered.