Year after year, the people of the Andean world and of Cusco in particular perform an ancestral ceremony in honor of Inti, the Sun God.
A ceremony that was forgotten and forbidden for many years, but still has remained alive in the deep feeling of Peruvian men, who still maintain their spiritual connection with nature and the environment that surrounds them.
Every June 24th Cusco awaits you in the midst of a great celebration, where more than one will be moved by the great fervor and joy of the people of Cusco who still keep their ancestral roots alive.
The Inti Raymi or festival of the sun is considered an Inca ritual that took place annually coinciding with the end of the harvest time in June.
The nobles of the empire came from the Antisuyo, Chinchaysuyo, Contisuyo and Collasuyo to the city of Cusco, since this was an event that in the words of the chroniclers like Guaman Poma de Ayala; ''It was a big and ostentatious celebration with a great amount of people who attended from all parts of the empire, wearing their best costumes and carrying gifts from their lands, which were seeds, fruits, ceramics, feathers among others''.
The Inti Raymi is a celebration that represented the Triumph of the Sun, formerly had its celebration on June 21 fitting in the Winter Solstice, a day in which the earth is further away from the sun, making the night longer and the dawn is late in coming.
According to the writings of the famous Inca Garcilaso, this was interpreted as the rebirth of the Sun, being the oldest name of this party ''Wawa Inti Raymi (the party of the Baby Sun)'' the preparations for this celebration began days before, when in all the empire the fire was extinguished and a collective fast was carried out, it was a serene moment in which all the empire was part of the adoration of the king star.
According to the chroniclers, the Inca was the one who led the ceremony, being considered the son of the Sun and he started the walk towards the Haucaypata square of the empire, nowadays the main square where the sunrise was expected.
Once the sun began to rise the people would prostrate on their knees with open arms welcoming the Tayta Inti, praising and throwing kisses in the air, it was then when the Inca would stand up and the other subjects and nobles would kneel down unable to look at him.
The first glass was offered to the sun and poured into a golden vessel that carried the liquid to the temple of the sun in the Qoricancha. The second glass was for the Inca, who began the feast with the members of the royal house, Curacas and Huillaq umas.
The sacrifice of a black flame was made as an offering to the Sun, it initiated a great joy in the empire, dances, songs and music were shared.
When Inti Raymi is celebrated
Currently, the Inti Raymi ceremony is celebrated on June 24 of each year, which is also declared a non-working day in the city of Cusco.
This date though is not the 21st of June winter solstice, as it was in Inca times originally.
Recorrido del Inti Raymi
The Inti Raymi we know today is a recreation based on the writings of the chroniclers.
It takes place in 3 different places.
Qoricancha: Este es el templo más importante del imperio incaico, la puesta en escena de Inti Raymi inicia en este templo, el inca da sus palabras a los jefes de cada suyo, los sabios y todo su séquito imperial, una vez que ya están todos los suyos reunidos inicia el despliegue hacia la plaza de armas.
Plaza de Armas: In the Plaza de Armas is given ''The Meeting of the Times'' is here where the Inca asks the mayor of Cusco to give him a summary of his works and works, it is a moment in which the Inca gives him advice to always be honest with the people, not to be lazy or thief. Finally, he gives a khipu, which will be a symbol of the mayor's commitment to the Inca. Finally, from the Plaza de Armas, they go up to the esplanade of Sacsayhuaman where the main ceremony will take place.
Saqsayhuaman: In the esplanade of Saqsayhuaman, the most important ceremony takes place, the Inca begins the ritual offering to the Tayta Inti, a black flame is chosen, the healthiest and strongest, which is offered to the sun through a sacrifice. This is the ceremony that takes more time, the chiefs and curacas deliver the reports of the situation of each Suyo. Finally, the Inca consults with the wise men if the following year will be prosperous and before an affirmative answer, it is celebrated with dances that his people offer to continue with the hullabaloo.
Curiosities about the Inti Raymi
The Inti Raymi was banned by Viceroy Francisco de Toledo in 1572, for being considered a pagan celebration contrary to the Catholic faith; however, it continued to be celebrated in secret for almost 400 years.
The tradition was forgotten for a long time, until 1944 when Faustino Espinoza Navarro, compiled information and data about this great ceremony creating the first script for 600 actors, dancers and musicians, thus celebrating the first Inti Raymi in contemporary times on June 24, 1944.
The Quechuologo Faustino Espinoza Navarro played the Inca for 14 consecutive years, currently the role is played by the singer Nivardo Carrillo and the teacher David Ancca.
The 24th of June is not only an important date for the Inti Raymi, but also the Day of the Peasant.
The city of Cusco is the only one at national level, which does not celebrate its anniversary on the date of the Spanish foundation, but it does it during the whole month of June, taking the 24th, Inti Raymi as the Central day.
Recommendations on Inti Raymi 2023
The celebration of Inti Raymi is a free event, it gathers many visitors, so try to arrive early to have a good place.
The municipality of Cusco, offers for sale tickets in special seats on the esplanade of Qoricancha and Saqsayhuaman. If you want to buy them you can do it in person or through the website of the EMUFEC.
The city of Cusco has hot days during this month, so bring plenty of water, snacks and sun hats.
Remember that this celebration takes place in scenarios that are heritage for all of us, so you as a spectator is an active part of the protection of these monuments.
If you are not in the city of Cusco for this date, do not worry, the celebration of Inti Raymi is now televised and transmitted by the main channels of Peru.