The Marriage of Man and Sun: Inti Raymi

Tourists throng to Cuzco in June to observe the procession, headed by ceremonial virgins carrying sacred offerings through the winding streets.

The Marriage of Man and Sun: Inti Raymi

Festival Essentials

image: Neil Gibson with ceremonial virgins

Neil Gibson with ceremonial virgins

Where: Cuzco, Peru
Events: Processions and ritual sacrifice.
History: Celebrates the marriage of the Sun God and his human sons
Remember to Bring: A llama to sacrifice

Where’s the Party?

Cuzco was the heart of the Inca Empire, the naval of the universe and home to the Inca king, descendant of the sun god. These days its Peru’s most important tourist City, and it’s the point of departure for the famous Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu.

Inti Raymi is celebrated for a week around the time of the southern hemisphere’s winter solstice, culminating on the last week of June.

What Happens at Inti Raymi?

Tourists throng to Cuzco in June to observe the procession, headed by ceremonial virgins carrying sacred offerings through the winding streets. The procession arrives at the ruins of Sacsayhuaman overlooking the city. Here ritual performances take place and the entrails of a slaughtered llama are examined to divine what the coming year has in store.

What’s the history of Inti Raymi?

Inti Raymi was celebrated by the Incas as the Festival of the Sun God. Inti Raymi symbolises the marriage between the Sun God and his human sons.

The original festival lasted three days and on the day of the summer solstice the Incas began chanting at sunrise, getting steadily louder until the sun was high in the midday sky, then tapering off towards dusk. After the conquest of the Inca Empire the Inti Raymi Festival was suppressed by the Spanish and only revived in 1944.

Sacsayhuaman is the site where the final battle between the Spanish and the Incas took place. It was an extremely bloody confrontation but eventually Manco Inca’s men were overcome by the Spanish cavalry.

 

Guide written by Villy Ioannou

main image: Inti Raymi at Saksaywaman, Cusco By Cyntia Motta – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4437883

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