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Inti Raymi Feast (Photo: PromPerú)
Sacsayhuamán (Photo: J.L. Tord)
Inti Raymi

The Inti Raymi or Feast of the Sun, was the most important feast in time of the Incas. It was celebrated with occasion of the winter solstice -the solar new year - for a town which main cult object was the god Inti (the sun), in the plaza of Huacaypata in Cusco.

The religious importance, festival ceremonial, social and politics were such that the party was extended in the whole Tahuantisuyo.

After the Spanish conquest, the Catolic Church suppressed  the ceremony and the Andean society that used to celebrate this festivity to the sun was dismembered.

The Inti Raymi was forgotten then, until half of the XX century when, as expression of a great movement of revaluation of the native culture in Peru, was returned to the scene.

In 1944 a group of intellectuals and artists from Cusco headed by Humberto Vidal U., decided to recover the Inti Raymi of the History and to present it as a show of theatrical type, dedicated to the whole population of Cusco (Qosqo). From then on, with very few exceptions, it has been represented every year, getting rich and evolving for the historical investigation.

The Inti Raymi in time of the Incas was a religious ceremony, now it is a theater representation. However this expression generates a feeling of identity in the town that evokes values and memories that are still excellent in our days, it also brings to the memory a time that lives in the heart of the town of Cusco (Qosqo).

The version is expressed in the original, Quechua language, with its corresponding translation to the Spanish to facilitate a better understanding.

The Ceremony

At the present time, every year it is carried out on June 24th  in Sacsahuamán, the solemn evocation of the splendid Inca rite, with a renovated script and prepared by distinguished specialists in the matter.

During the previous night of the representation the lights were out of the enormous empire, the Tahuantisuyo, and in the city of Cusco in the great plaza Huacaypata (today Main Plaza) all the most important characters of the empire were concentrated.

Among the shades, the multitude waited the appearance of the god Inti (sun) with great respect. Generals, princes, and all the nobility waited in deep silence; many of them disguised of fierce and other animals of the Andean mythology.

When appearing the sun, they expressed their recognition and adoration as supreme god, only and universal god that with its light and virtue created and sustained all the things of the earth, thanking it for the crops received in the year.

The Inca, with the help of the Priests induced the god Inti (sun) exactly when it arrived to the maximum point of distance and its approach began to Cusco, to return with the favor of its rays, to fecundate the earth and to offer the well-being to its sons of the great empire of the Tahuantisuyo.

The sacred fire was renovated with a concave gold bracelet that was located against the solar light which reflections were projected on a very combed cotton piece, the one that shortly was caught on fire. The sacred fire was taken to the Koricancha, where the Acllas would conserve it.

During the ceremony it was also carried out the sacrifice of a "llama" to predict the coming year, then a great military march, and at the end all the assistants retired and entertained in a big celebration that lasted several days.

Source: Official Script of the Evocation of the Inti Raymi, Municipality of Qosqo.

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