Inti Raymi: The Festival of the Sun
Father's Day may be over, but Cusqueñans are getting ready to honor the daddy of the Inca world--the Sun God "Inti"--during the annual festival known as Inti Raymi held next Tuesday, June 24. Occurring on the Winter Solstice of the Southern Hemisphere, the celebration today gathers hundreds of thousands of people from around Peru and the world, including celebrities such as last year's attendee Bill Gates. They all come to witness the reenactment of this ancient Inca ceremony which has roots dating as far back as the 13th century.
Considered the most important ceremony celebrated in the Inca Empire, the rituals that take place during the event are re-created thanks to the memories of the peasants who still practice them during the year and who have kept the traditions alive for centuries.
The Inca religion, which is based around nature, sees the sun as the most important aspect in daily life. It provides light and warmth, two things which civilizations back then (and today) couldn't live without. Though he was second in-line to Viracocha, the creator of civilization, Inti the Sun God received the most offerings--most especially from farmers who depended on the sun for their harvest. The ruler of the Inca people, Sapa Inca, claimed divine heritage in that he was a direct descendant of Inti.