According to what I´ve read, on informative sites, on the Internet, before I traveled to Peru, in 2018, at the time of the Incan Empire (15th and 16th centuries),
called ‘Tahuaintinsuyu’ (Tahua=Four, Intin=Of Inti, and Suyu=Region; that is, the Four Regions of Inti, the Sun God), the ‘Inti Raymi’ was celebrated every June 21 (Winter Solstice, in the Southern Hemisphere, and Incan New Year, when the Sun is in its farthest position from the Earth).
It was the most important, spectacular and magnificent festivity of all which originally was established, in the 15th century, by Inca Pachakúteq Yupanqui, to systematize the annexed peoples´ spiritual integration to the official religion, based on the cult to Inti.
Then, during the Colony, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Inca´s subjects kept on celebrating that festivity, in hiding, because the Spanish authorities harshly punished those practices, through their notorious ‘Extirpation of Idolatries’, as they considered them as ‘pagan’, and related to worshipping the devil.
Finally, it was only in 1944 that this traditional celebration was re-established, in the city of Cusco, to give its value back to Incan tradition and culture and, today, it is one of the main festivities, in Peru, that includes traditional dances, music and clothes that attract tourism.
After 75 years (2019) of its annual celebration, every June 24, that singular festivity has become part of the tradition, in the city of Cusco, and its main feature is its theatrical representation, full of color and history, staged by hundreds of actors, dressed in traditional Incan garments, in the course of which the main protagonists are the Inca and his wife, the ‘Coya’, the High Priest, or ‘Willaq Uma’, and the Incan nobility,
accompanied by the Inca´s Suite, with the Delegates of the Four ‘Suyus’, in a show that lasts a full day, during which the whole ‘Imperial City of Cusco’ joyfully participates in the ‘Sun´s Feast’.
Currently, the staging of the ‘Inti Raymi’ takes place on three specific sites, of the city of Cusco, that are charged with great historical significance:
The Coricancha or Temple of the Sun: From the first hours of the day on, the Sun´s Feast begins in the Coricancha´s ‘Gold Yard’, with the Inca presenting coca leaves, corn, ‘chicha’, lamas, alpacas and other offerings to ‘Inti’, the Sun God.
That staging is free, and the public can come close to the Coricancha´s Esplanade located on Avenida El Sol, although the show, in itself, starts at 9:00 a.m., and lasts about 45 minutes.
The Haucaypata or Main Square: There, the Inca arrives, carried, on a palanquin, by eight servants, and performs the ‘Coca´s Ceremony’. There is a platform for those who have acquired their entrance ticket, while the majority of visitors stand, as they watch the staging of the ritual that starts at 11:00 a.m., and lasts about an hour.
Sacsayhuaman: The Chuquipampa Esplanade, in the Incan Fortified Architectural Complex of Saqsayhuaman, is where the Inti Raymi´s main presentation takes place, and access is only allowed to public with entrance tickets to three platforms, or tribunes, set-up to accommodate spectators. The show starts at 1:30 p.m., and lasts almost two hours.
Personally, I´ve had the chance to assist to that great feast, in 2018 and, without the shadow of a doubt, I recommend you to live that extraordinary experience that will transport you to the Incas´ time, on your next visit to Cusco, by booking your trip and entrance ticket to the Inti Raymi, through SAMEX, at least 6 months before traveling to Peru. You won´t regret it!
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