Friday, June 27, 2008

Inti Raymi

Inti Raymi was an Inca religious celebration giving thanks to the sun god Inti. It corresponded to the harvesting period, the New Andean year, and the winter solstice here. Last authentic celebration took place in 1535, since when it has been forbidden by the Spanish.

With the arrival of the tourist age, Cusco has reawakened the old tradition and transformed it into a dress-up folklore party and a happy gathering for the tourists. It is a long ceremony full of colorful parading, dancing, and music.

Today, June 24th is the day of the main celebration. The carefully chosen Inca and his wife are carried from the Qoriqancha, the temple of the Sun, to Cusco´s Plaza di Armas, and then to the sacsayhuaman fortress high above the city. The Inca gives a speech here and there about the rulings of the land, and finally a lama sacrifice is performed at the fortress to interpret the omens about the year to come. On Cusco streets several fiestas and various parades, especially around the Plaza di Armas, can be witnessed for several days before and after the main event.

There are a lot of local villagers that come to the capital (Cusco) for the celebration as well as tourists. The costumes are numerous, very colorful and intricate, - and for once it is not required to pay to take pictures!

Unfortunately before and after the celebration life is still rather hard for the locals, and it is better to pay for a picture, if not you get assailed by a couple of hungry children, like we did after taking this picture (by Renaud):

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