The Inti Raymi is celebrated in the city of Cusco every June 21, with the first rays of the sun that begin the winter solstice. This holiday is one of the many tourist attractions of Peru.

The celebration consists in the characterization of what were the true rituals practiced by the native communities of the Tahuantinsuyo in the 15th-century, where they paid tribute to the Sun God, thanking him for starting the harvest
season. It all starts at 6:30 am in the morning at the Qorikancha Temple, located in the city of Cusco, and between dances and songs they perform the ceremony of the first sun salutation.

Inti Raymi

Empire of the Four Regions

Inti means sun and Raymi means party, which means the Sun party, which was a festivity that joined the people of all regions that were part of what is known as Empire of the Inca, but this is not an expression correct, since INCA was a single person, the sovereign or regent. Actually, the city of Cusco was the capital of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire, a quechua name that means Four Regions, being then the Empire of the Four Regions. These four regions were called: Chinchaysuyo, Antisuyo, Contisuyo and Collasuyo. Today these territories cover part of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Northern Chile and Northern Argentina.

Hours later to the sun salutation, the characterization of the encounter of two worlds begins, where the communities met with the Mayor to account for the harvest of the season. Representatives of these regions enter into the city through four different directions and meet in the Plaza de Armas (Main square), the center of Cusco city or Q´osco which was its real name, and which means the navel of the world (under andean cosmology thought).

To witness the Inti Raymi and be in such representative places for the Incas, which were the scenes of real battles, and where a whole civilization lived with an Andean worldview of great wisdom, makes the skin shiver. Undoubtedly, he considers the great truths behind a culture that worshiped the Sun, and that perfectly understood the connection of the human being, nature and the Universe.

The sacrifice ceremony

The great fortress of Saqsaywaman, or the Royal House of the Sun, is the setting for the great sacred celebration that closes this festivity. This fortress that is an architectural beauty, was built on a hill with the reason of taking care of the city of Cusco. Its construction took more than 70 years and with the arrival of the Spanish conquerors its destruction was ordered, but today its bases remain standing, as a sign that they could not finish with the deep foundations of a civilization.

In this place the most important rites of the Inti Raymi are developed. Therepresentatives of the Four Regions arrive with offerings for the Sun and for the Inca, who goes up to the throne to conduct the ceremony, making a speech full of untamed strength, which shakes the spectators, giving a small idea of ​​the energy that emanated the Incas who ruled this empire and moved great armies of warriors.

At the end of this ceremony the sacrifice is made, where the high priest of the andean communities extracts the heart and viscera of a llama, and by means of the state of the animals organs he can predict the auguries of the year that begins.

The Inti Raymi party was sacred, regal, with fasting, abstinence and punishment. It was the confirmation of his solar religion and his interpretation of the cosmology of the universe.

Curiosities:

• Those who are currently participating in this ceremony are part of the Peruvian
army, students of high school and local universities.
• A tender black llama used to be sacrificed at the actual Inti Raymi ceremony.
Today only a scenic representation of that moment is made.
• With the arrival of the spaniards, the Inti Raymi ceremony was supplanted by the
celebration of Corpus Christi, the most important Catholic celebration. Today the
locals celebrate both festivities.
• The Inca that appears and characterizes the andean sovereign in these current
festivities belongs to the lineage of one of the 14 Incas who ruled the
Tahuantinsuyo Empire.

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