Home > South America > Peru > Peru Overview > Holidays and Festivals in Peru > Inti Raymi
Page Rating
Content Quality:

Page Importance:
Author Pick:
Close Map

Book a Hotel or Hostel

Hotels Hostels & Budget


Check in Date

Check out Date

Number of Rooms

Top Peru

Inti Raymi

Every year in June, there is an opportunity to witness a beautiful exhibition of Peruvian culture and tradition: Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun.

The Inti Raymi festival originated as a celebration to honor the Sun God as insurance for good crops in the harvest season. Each Winter Solstice, when the sun is farthest from the earth, ancient Incas would gather out of fear of the lack of sun, beseeching its return . In 1572, the colonial Spaniards banned the tradition because of its pagan rituals.

The festivities went underground, but today it is celebrated as one of the largest festivals in South America, second only to the carnival of Rio. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people gather in Cusco for the week-long festivities. From live music to street vendors to daytime fairs, the festival consists of different daily activities. Free concerts, put on by the best Peruvian musical troupes, are held in the Plaza de Armas nightly.

All activities lead up the June 24, the climax of the festival and the actual day of Inti Raymi. Scientifically speaking, the winter solstice begins June 21, but Peruvians follow the Pacha Unachaq, a sundial used by the Incas.

Over 500 actors are selected to enact the day-long ceremony. It is considered a great honor to be selected as Sapa Inca or his wife, as they are the two main characters for the day. Ceremonies commence in the Qorikancha square in front of the Santo Domingo church, which is built over the Temple of the Sun. Here, Sapa Inca calls on blessings from the sun. Afterwards, he is carried on a golden throne to Sacsayhuamán, a fortress in the hills above Cusco. Thousands of people await his arrival, upon which he climbs the sacred altar. A white llama is sacrificed to ensure the fertility of the earth.

At sunset, strawstacks are set on fire and revelers dance around them to honor the Empire of the Four Wind Directions. The ceremony ends with the celebrants returning to Cusco, watching as Sapa Inca and Mama Occla are carried on their golden thrones. And so the sun's new year begins!

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Peru: Photography in Peru, Studying Spanish in Peru, Highlights of the Southern Coast, Regional Summaries, Responsible Tourism in Peru, History of Lima, Studying Quechua in Peru, Population, Six Places to Visit in Peru and Safety in Peru.

13 Jun 2012

View Peru Map

South America | Central America and Mexico | Antarctica |
Advertise | Anúnciese | Jobs | Alliances | Alianzas | Terms of Use | Contact Us | About Us | Blog | Administradores |
You must register as an owner for access to these listing tools and benefits.

Notification of new reviews: receive your latest reviews by e-mail

Customized request-a-review link: encourage guests to spread the word about your property

Our owners' newsletter: stay informed about our latest tools and benefits for you

User login

Enter your username and password here in order to log into the website:


Create a new V!VA account

Forgot Password