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THE CELEBRATION OF THE INTI RAYMI

Celebration with a past

Today, a group of actors brings to life the celebration of the Inti Raymi To Related image to the Multimedia Galleryat the fortress of Saccsayhuaman. In times past - when Cusco was only inhabited by the royal family, priests and leading authorities of the Empire - the religious ceremony was held in what is now the city's Main Square (Plaza de Armas).

Close to 50,000 people took part in the festivitiesTo Related image to the Multimedia Gallery. All fasted for nine days which were followed by nine days of celebration and, by law, presented gifts to the Inca, the son of the Sun, who offered a banquet of roast meat, corn bread, "chicha de jora" (spirituous refreshment from fermented corn) and coca tea.

In 1572, Viceroy Toledo banned Inti Raymi celebrations. The Spaniard never understood why worship to the sun was so important to the Inca people; this, he considered, was a pagan ceremony, contrary to the essence and meaning of the Christian faith and, as such, had to be eliminated.

The strict prohibitions established for the purpose of ending the Inti Raymi were unsuccessful. The subjects of the Inca continued to venerate it out of the sight of the Spanish authorities and a 'mestizo' named Garcilaso de la Vega compiled descriptions of this singular and incomparable ceremony in his renowned 'Comentarios Reales' ("Royal Commentaries").


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