Every year on the 24th of June, the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, Cuzco celebrates the Inca Festival of the Sun. Inti Raymi was the greatest festival in the Inca calendar and still remains an important date today. However the festivities have very much changed over the last 500 years.
The history of Inti Raymi celebrations is dramatic and blood-filled. The festival is a tribute to the sun god Inti at the time of year when the sun was furthest away from Peru. To appease Inti and his wife Pachmama, the goddess of fertility and harvests, as many as 200 llamas were sacrificed. 25,000 people would gather in Cuzco to see this brutal and ritual.
Today’s re-enactment is much more llama friendly while still incorporating traditions from years ago. Also honouring the Incan New Year, Cuzco hosts street parties and processions across three days leading up to the ceremony on the 24th of June. Taking place at Sacsayhuaman, the UNESCO walled fortress overlooking Cuzco, the full-day ceremony is an incredible sight to behold attracting visitors from far and wide.
If you want to witness this incredible event in Cuzco or visit Peru’s wealth of Inca sites, have a browse of our group tours.