In June, the winter begins and also the ancient festivity known as Inti Raymi, a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honor of the god Inti (Quechua for "sun"), one of the most venerated deities in Inca religion
It is the enactment of the celebration of the winter solstice that takes place every June 24th.
The festivity is not only celebrated in Cusco but also in diverse cities of Peru, such as Arequipa or Cajamarca, of which the first one stands out, for its magnificence and for being the legendary cradle of the inca culture. The holiday of the Inti Raymi is celebrated in several countries, nevertheless, the name changes, in Bolivia, where it is known as the "Easter of the Nascent Sun" in allusion to the winter solstice.
The Inti Raymi was one of the most important religious festivities during the time of the Incas. The peruvian historian Jose Antonio del Busto, in his book "Peru Incaico", narrates that in Inca times, the holiday of the Inti Raymi was celebrated in June because it coincided with the time of the crop and the fishing river. For the special occasion the villages were cleaned, the roads were repaired, the bridges were woven and houses were constructed for the new couples who were getting married during the celebrations.
Del Busto also mentions that the main reason to celebrate on this date was the solstice of June 24, day in which the holiday began with the sacrifice of 100 camelids while sipping on glasses of gold. Then, the sacrifice of ten camelids were given to the god Wuiracocha, ten to the god Sun and some others to the god Thunder, close to the camelids also was offering thin pieces of clothes. According to Del Busto, while this was happening, the Incas. sang the following Hymn: "Oh Hacedor, Sun and Thunder, be always young boys, all the things are in peace, the peoples multiply and it finds eaten, and all the things go always in increase. "
It is said that in 1572 the Inti Raymi. was prohibited by the viceroy Toledo, because it was considered to be a pagan holiday and contrary to the Catholic Church, but it continued being celebrated in clandestine way. Then, in 1974, the tradition was taken again and since then, every June 24th this public event takes place.
Nowadays, the Inti Raymi in the Cusco is celebrated to the compass of the folkloric music, the four Suyos or Incas region, parade with its gowns while the ñustas, the coyas and the pallas advance in columns. Suddenly, the Incas is left to see, transported on a berth and accompanied of a retinue of orejones and others authorities that walk to certain distance of him. While the pututus and the quenas sound, the Incas puts of foot, extends the arms towards the horizon and produces honoring to the god Inti, elevating two big glasses of gold full of alcoholic maize drink of jora.
We invite you to discover Cusco and its diverse ancient traditions.