Inti Raymi “The Sun Festival” is celebrated every year on June 24th, is the second large festival in South America.
The Incas has a special link with the nature, and the Sun – Inti in quechua, the inca’s language – was considered as their father who gives health, force, blessings making the crops growing and ripen; but only the royal family was considered as their descendants specially the Inca who was the “son of the sun”.
The Inti Raymi celebrates the winter solstice at the south hemisphere, date where starts the farm year also called Andean Year. On this date the Inca tie up the sun for this day and thanks it for all the blessings received and pray to be blessed on the next year in the same way as the people along the inca empire.
For this celebration, people representative from each one of the 4 Suyos – a suyo was a region in the inca empire – comes to Cusco specially invited from the Inca in the same way as the army of each Suyo.
The people comes to Cusco with their best dresses and gifts to the sun and his son, show his dances and music and the “virgins of the sun” left their houses to honor their lord “the sun” carrying and dropping the offerings at the ceremony.
The Inti Rami has 3 stages:
The Inti Raymi, starts at the Q’oricancha “The Sun Temple”, where the inca salutes his people and request permission to the Sun to start the ceremony in company of notable people coming from the 4 suyos. This stage is public, not require of any entrance tickets, we suggest for all our customers who wants to enjoy this stage to be early in the morning (from 07:30 am) to get a good place at the street in front of the Q’oricancha.
The Main Square
The second stage, is public too, at the main square. The Inca and his Qoya (wife) arrives with all their entourage of nobles and the army to receive the salutation of the authorities of the Cusco: the Governor of the region (state) and the Major of the city, and with them the Inca reviews the army, before to go to Sacsayhuaman for the main stage.
The main stage is at Sacsayhuaman, is private, only people with entrance ticket could access to the tribunes and get a numbered seat according the color of the tribune selected. The orange tribune is closer to the scenery, in the same way as the red tribune; most of the local people prefers the green tribune because is the economic because is a little far from the scenery.
At this stage the Inca makes the sacrifice to the Sun, and the Andean priests gives their predictions for the starting year, do the ceremony of the sacred fire and the people from the 4 Suyos show their dances and music.