The Spanish Language Blog

It is the second largest festival in South America and very popular with tourists. Hundreds of thousands of people from Peru, South America and the rest of the world come to the Peruvian city of Cuzco to usher in the traditional new Inca year. This festival is also called the Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun. Every year the sun god Wiracocha is worshipped in Cuzco and at the archaeological Inca fort "Sascayhuaman" and celebrates the beginning of the new solar year.

  • Every year on June 24, the Festival of the Sun takes place in Cuzco and the surrounding area. The Peruvian name is Inti (sun) Raymi (festival) and during this festival the solstice is celebrated. The solstice represents the beginning of the new Inca year.
  • The Festival of the Sun is the second largest festival in South America and very popular.
  • The festival begins early in the morning when the Sapa Inca thank the sun for all its blessings. The second part is at the ancient Inca fortress Sascayhuaman where a reconstruction of the ancient tradition is enacted by 500 extras.

The Inti Raymi is an ancient tradition of the Inca religion. Quechua is the language of the Incas and is still spoken today by much of the Inca Indian population in the Peruvian mountains. In this language, Inti means sun and Raymi means festival. Hence the name "Festival of the Sun. According to official tradition, the first Inca created this celebration to celebrate the solstice (also called winter solstice). The solstice represents the first day of the new year according to the Inca calendar and officially begins on June 21 and ends on June 24 because, according to the Incas, the sun stays in the same place during these days. Therefore, the festival of the sun is only really celebrated on June 24.

The celebration of the Inti Raymi begins at 8 a.m. in the main square in the city of Cuzco. The rainbow flag that symbolizes the Inti Raymi is raised during mass in the cathedral. First, the Sapa Inca (the leader of the Inca people), thanks the sun for all its blessings. Then the whole procession goes to the Inca fortress "Sacsayhuaman," about 5 kilometers from Cuzco. At the Inca fortress, also called the sacred house of the sun, the second part of the Festival of the Sun is celebrated. The celebration consists of a huge spectacle with 500 extras portraying a reconstruction of the ancient ceremony. This entire spectacle is also entirely in Quechua, and the Sapa Inca is the main speaker. During the spectacle, various extras pay homage to their leader and, of course, to the sun god through various dances, rituals and music.

The Festival of the Sun is an important and popular spectacle during the month of June in Peru. Many activities are organized during these days such as live performances, exhibitions and shows. People from all over the world, mainly from South America and Peru come to Cuzco to enjoy brilliant performances, swinging music and, of course, the theater of the Inca ceremony. Entering the Incafort is free and it is possible to rent seats in advance. The Festival of the Sun really should not be missed if you are traveling towards Peru!

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