Peru welcomes Andean New Year with Incan Festival of the Sun

Lima, Jun 24 (EFE).- The traditional Inca celebration of Inti Raymi, or Festival of the Sun, dazzled once again on Thursday in the archaeological complex of Sacsayhuamán on the outskirts of Cusco to mark the beginning of the new Andean year, after it was suspended in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The music of pututos – shells used as wind instruments – marked the beginning of the ancient religious festival of the Inca Empire to honor of the Sun god Inti, the most venerated deity in Inca religion, and welcome the coming year.

The fortress of Sacsayhuamán served as a framework for some 400 artists, including musicians, dancers and actors, who represented the Inca sovereign, and priests and peoples that made up the empire.

The lavish ceremony, which was celebrated without an audience, was marked by omens and requests for “unity” for the bicentennial year of Peru’s independence, given the political and social rupture in the country after the presidential election on June 6.

In the center of the plaza, the Inca ‘sovereign’ and the priests renewed their commitment to Inti, to whom they offered sacred chicha drinks and asked him to bless them with prosperity.

Hundreds wore colorful, traditional Inca dresses while they danced and gave offerings to the Sun.

The peak moment of the festival came with the sacrifice of a llama and the subsequent listening to its heart to predict the future that, according to the Inca, comes full of “sweet” omens of “well-being, power, integrity, progress and unity” and a warning to “govern with prudence, justice and honesty.”

The event had the virtual participation of various authorities of the Qhapaq Ñan Andean road system and the presence President Francisco Sagasti and state ministers, among others.

In his speech, Sagasti called for the union of Peruvian society, which he urged to respect and enhance its cultural diversity and not to promote divisions such as intolerance, racism, discrimination and violence.

Before the central ceremony, priests participated in another ritual at the Coricancha site in Cusco, where the Inca received a purification bath to drive away evil spirits and be able to communicate with Inti.

Originally, the tribute that the Incas paid to their deity was held every June 21, coinciding with the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, and lasted for 15 days. EFE


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