The Inti Raymi comes from the Quechua language which means ‘Fiesta del Sol’. It is celebrated all winter solstices (between June 20 and 23) the Inca emperor offered a ritual in honor of the sun god, in the Inca era he was known as the highest divinity in the Tahuantinsuyo. Formerly he was known as Wawa Inti Raymi.
The Inca Pachacutec, was the Inca who ordered the construction of the citadel of Machu Picchu, began this religious-cultural tradition in the fifteenth century. According to the Andean tradition, at that time the sun began its cycle again. Since 1944, this tradition was reinstated in Cusco. Today, it is one of the most important celebrations in Peru. Its celebration includes dances, performances, typical costumes and a series of activities ideal for tourism.
The Inti Raymi scenario is the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, located in the northern area of the city of Cusco, according to the Inca Gracilazo de la Vega, Sacsayhuaman is “the greatest and most magnificent work that the Incas had built to show their power and majesty ”
The Inti Raymi in the Age of the Incas
The Inti Raymi was prohibited by the Spaniards during the first years of the conquest alleging that it was a pagan ceremony and not in accordance with the Catholic religion, however, small ceremonies took place without major consequences. Later, during the colony, in 1572, the Viceroy Francisco de Toledo officially banned the celebration along with many other Inca traditions; Even the use of traditional Inca clothing was prohibited. These rulings came into force after a series of Inca rebellions, such as the uprising of the last Inca ruler Túpac Amaru I, who was executed along with his family and his advisors.
Inti Raymi in the News
The modern representation of the Inti Raymi still retains all its majestic glory, albeit without the procession of ancient mummies and only a sacrifice of animals at the culmination of the day’s celebrations.
The celebrations begin in the morning on the large open court in front of the Inca Temple of the Sun – Korikancha. With the arrival of representatives of the four members of the Inca Empire (Qollasuyu, Kuntisuyu, Antisuyu and Chinchaysuyu), the Inca opens the festivities invoking praises to the sun god – Inti. From Korikancha the royal entourage continues the short distance to the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.
Then a ceremonial reading of the sacred leaf of coca is made to predict the destiny of the Inca Empire for next year. The ancient Inca archaeological site of Saqsayhuman where the final part of the representation takes place. Thousands of local spectators fill the surrounding hills to take a look at the ceremony, while in the main arena of Saqsayhuman there are first class seats in the grandstands. Dressed in full costume, the Inca utters his last words in Quechua before a ritual sacrifice of a llama. The festival ends when the air is filled with the sound of trumpets, panpipes and drums.
Recommendations for the Inti Raymi 2019
- Bring warm clothes, because in the month of June it is very cold in Cusco.
- If you want to witness the ceremony and rituals of the Inti Raymi closely, buy your box in the Sacsayhuaman esplanade, well in advance.
- Before going up to the Sacsayhuaman esplanade, be sure to bring your camera.
- Secure your belongings
Hours of the Inti Raymi Ceremomia
The Inti Raymi is developed through a schedule that takes place during the morning until the afternoon of June 24 and almost always the schedules are fixed, except for the schedules of the final staging which can be extended by much more, according to the conditions.
The Intiraymi 2019 schedule is as follows:
- 9:00 am Qorikancha: House of the staging. It lasts 30 minutes.
- 11:00 Hours Auqaypata (Main Square): The Inka and his royal retinue enter the K’ijllu Inti street. Duration 45 minutes.
- 13:30 Hours. Central Ceremony 90 minutes.