This festival is celebrated annually in Cusco at the archaeological complex of Sacsayhuaman, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world.
It is the second most important celebration in South America after the Rio Carnival, Brazil.
Inti Raymi is a word that comes from Quechua and means "resurrection of the sun".
Their religion was based on the worship of the sun.
Inti Raymi marks the beginning of a new year. It was celebrated at the end of the potato and corn harvest to thank Inti for the abundant harvest or, otherwise, to ask for a more successful one in the next season.
Scientifically, the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere occurs on June 21, but according to Pacha Unachaq - sundial used by the Incas - the sun remains in the same place for a few days before rising on the 24th.
The Inti Raymi was targeted to worship the "Apu Inti" (Sun God) also known in certain sectors as "Apu P’unchau" (God Day).
The Inka's subjects continued to celebrate the festival in secret from the Spanish authorities, and a mestizo named Garcilazo de la Vega compiled, in his famous Royal Comments, descriptions of this unique and incomparable festival.
Today, the Inti Raymi is organized annually in Saqsaywaman, on the day of San Juan, June 24. That same day is also the "Day of the Indian" or "Day of the Peasant" in Peru.
Inti Raymi was established in the Cusco festival calendar since 1944 thanks to the enthusiasm of Dr. Cusqueño. Humberto Vidal Unda.
To date this representation or staging has a documented script, it takes place in the Esplanade of Saqsaywaman and lately in settings such as the courtyard of the Qoricancha temple and the same square in Cusco, from this square the royal entourage of the Inca , it is moved to the Saqsaywaman esplanade where tribunes have been installed to facilitate visitors and the local public settles in the surroundings occupying sites that belong to the Saqsaywaman archaeological site, spectators that exceed 100,000.
AS IT IS CELEBRATED
Every June 24, the day when the sun is at its most distant point from the earth and which also coincides with the winter solstice, the Inti Raymi or "festival of the Sun" is celebrated in Sacsayhuamán, of fundamental importance in the Inca .
On the night of the night before, all the fires in the Tahuantinsuyo were put out. In the great Huacaypata square (today Cusco's Plaza de Armas) all the characters of the empire were concentrated.
Among the shadows, the crowd awaited with great respect the appearance of the god Inti (sun). Generals, princes and all the nobility waited in profound silence, many of them disguised as beasts and other animals of Andean mythology.
When the sun appeared, they expressed their appreciation and worshiped him as the supreme, single and universal god, who with his light and his virtue created and sustained all things on earth. They also thanked him for the crops received during the year.
The Inca, with the help of the priests, "induced" the god Inti (sun) to return with the favor of his rays to fertilize the earth and ensure the well-being of the children of the great Tahuantinsuyo empire.
The sacred fire was renewed with a concave gold bracelet that was put against the sunlight, whose reflections were projected on a very crimson piece of cotton that caught fire in a short space.
The sacred fire was taken to the Coricancha, where it would be kept by the acllas.
During the ceremony the sacrifice of a llama was also made to predict the coming year. Then a great military march followed and at the end everyone withdrew and broke out in unbridled hubbub for several days.
Currently the Inti Raymi is a theatrical performance, but also one of the most evocative traditional manifestations of our national identity because it symbolizes the values and memories of our past.
To the beat of the musical airs, delegates of the four of theirs parade in their typical clothing while ñustas, coyas and pallas advance in undulating columns.
Suddenly, the Inca can be seen, transported on a litter and accompanied by an entourage of dried apricots and other dignitaries who walk at a respectable distance from him.
While the pututus, cornets and quenas sound, the Inca stands up, extends his arms towards the horizon and pays homage to the Inti by raising two large gold glasses filled with chicha.