The Inti Raymi was the most important celebration in the Inca calendar. Back in those days it used to point out the beginning of the year, and it was held in honour of the Sun God, to whom the Incas asked for abundance in their harvest for the starting season. Today it is celebrated every 24th of June and it represents a significant tradition for the city of Cuzco.
Inti Raymi during the Inca Empire
The Inti Raymi is a celebration taking place every 24th of June to worship the Sun God. Formerly it was the most majestic festivity of the now lost Inca Empire.
This ceremony was the Inca equivalent to what is now our New Year’s Eve. This solar celebration was actually a ritual through which the New Year was inaugurated and the past year was put to an official end. This corresponded to the beginning of the new agricultural cycle.
Inti Raymi nowadays
Cuzco is ready for this party many days before the actual 24th of June, and when the day finally comes, people from all over the city form a crowd around the terrace in front of the Saksaywaman fort.
The most typical music takes over the Plaza de Armas square of Cuzco and many young bands exhibit proudly the inherited dances from their ancestors.
Surrounded by the music, four actors representing the four areas in the Inca Empire walk by showing the typical clothes. Finally an actor appears on the scene; he represents the ancient Inca governor and is carried over a litter made of gold and silver, accompanied by an entourage symbolizing the nobles and senior officials of the Empire.
The staging is fantastic and manages to stay realistic. The show represents a very important part of the history of Peru and gives a little something extra to the Inti Raymi ceremony.
Where does the Inti Raymi take place?
The Inti Raymi takes place in the Plaza de Armas square in Cusco, although the main stage is the Saksaywaman Fort, located in the northern area of the city, 3650 meters above sea level.
How to get to Saksaywaman?
It is a 10 minute ride from the road heading to Saksaywaman. Since it is one of the most tourist points in Cuzco it is very easy to find. Another easy way to get there is simply to take the public bus towards Saksaywamanand stop along with the many tourists.
The Inti Raymi has become the most important festivity in Cuzco. It has transcended the Peruvian frontiers and it is now an excuse for many foreign visitors to visit the city during this time of the year.