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Inti Raymi: Cusco’s biggest festival

Reposted as it’s soon!

Each year on June 24th (which coincides with the winter solstice in South America) there is a festival to honor the Inca god Inti. The Festival also celebrates the coming New Year.

The celebration began in 1412, but was banned after 1535 by Catholic Clergy. It was then preserved secretly for many years, and recreated publicly again in 1944.

From Peru This Week:

The festivals that fill Cusco’s cultural calendar honor a unique blend of Andean and Catholic traditions. Every June 24th, the city stages Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun, and thousands of Peruvians and visitors take to the city streets for dancing, music, and colorful cultural reenactments.

Inti Raymi is a religious celebration that pays homage to Inti, the Inca Sun deity. Held during the winter solstice when the sun is furthest from Earth (in the southern hemisphere), the celebration is a plea for Inti to return to his Inca sons, as their crops would receive no nourishment without the life-giving energy of the sun. Today’s Inti Raymi celebration honors a new cycle of life, just like the ancient festival upon which it is modeled.

During the Spanish conquest Inti Raymi was banned by authorities because of its pagan nature, and the festival went underground, much like many of the Inca structures buried beneath the monuments and cathedrals built by the Spanish. But in 1944, Inti Raymi rose once again with a reenactment of the festival performed by local Cusqueño actors. The event has grown in size and popularity since then to become one of the largest and most important celebrations in the region.
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