This reenactment of a 500-year-old Incan tradition takes place in Cuzco. The original ritual involved a large llama sacrifice, but luckily for the llamas, the participants just act out the ceremony with no actual bloodshed.
In addition to the procession and faux sacrifice, there are folk dances and traditional Peruvian bands. The Inti Raymi’rata is a traditional r
eligious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honor of the god Inti(Quechua for “sun”), the most venerated deity in Inca religion.
It was the celebration of the winter solstice the shortest day of the year in terms of the time between sunrise and sunset and the IncaNew
Year when the hours of light would begin to lengthen again.
In territories south of the equator, the Gregorian months of June and July are winter months. It is held on June 24. During the Inca Empi
re, the Inti Raymi was the most important of four ceremonies celebrated in Cusco, as related by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.
The celebration took place in the Haukaypata or the main plaza in the city. In 1944, a historical reconstruction of the Inti Raymi was directed by Faustino Espinoza Navarro and indigenous actors.
The first reconstruction was based largely on the chronicles of Garcilaso de la Vega and referred only to the religious ceremony. Sin
ce 1944, an annual theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi has been taking place at Saksaywaman on June 24, two kilometers from the original site of celebration in central Cusco.
It attracts thousands of tourists and local visitors. The main ceremony takes place when the procession reaches the ruins of Sacsayhuaman.
Here representatives of the four suyu report to the emperor about the state of the realm and reaffirm their allegiance.
The Sapa Inca give
s a speech to the people, and another to the Inti, the sun, at exactly 1:30 PM. Chicha, a kind of corn beer that was sacred to the ancient Inca, is passed from the Sapa Inca to his court.
Finally, after a few more rituals, a llama sacrifice is staged (no killing ta
kes place) to appease the sun and ensure that the days begin to get longer again.
Dances and performances are held, once again representing the native traditions and culture of the four regions of the ancient empire and its diverse people. Then the party winds down and everyone heads back to the center of Cusco for various after-parties and festivities.