Inti Raymi Fiesta

Inti Raymi Fiesta

June 24
The Inti Raymi Festival, also known as the Inti Raymi Pageant, Sun Festival, or Feast of the Sun, is an ancient Winter Solstice festival celebrated by the Incas in Peru on June 24. Their ancient empire at one time extended along the Pacific coast of South America from the northern border of modern Ecuador to the Río Maule in central Chile. The Incas believed that their land lay at the center of the earth. They honored Inti Raymi, their sun god, at the foot of La Marca Hills, not far from where the actual equator is now known to be. Their religion embraces both Christian and Indian elements, and they still believe that the sun and moon have god-like powers.
The original Inti Raymi celebration involved animal sacrifices performed by the shaman or priest at the top of the hill of La Marca when the sun reached its zenith at the solstice. Today the main celebration takes place in Cuzco, the 12th-century Incan capital, where there is a special procession and mock sacrifice to the sun, followed by a week-long celebration involving folkloric dances, tours of archeological ruins, and regional arts and crafts displays. Bonfires are still lit in the Andes Mountains to celebrate the rebirth of the sun, and people burn their old clothes as a way of marking the end of the harvest cycle.
CONTACTS:
Commission for the Promotion of Peru
Calle Uno Oeste No. 50, piso 13th
Urb. Corpac
Lima, 27 Peru
51-14-224-3131; fax: 51-1-224-7134
www.promperu.gob.pe
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 105
DictFolkMyth-1984, pp. 526, 1032, 1055
FiestaTime-1965, p. 104
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 149