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THE CELEBRATION OF THE INTI RAYMI

The ceremony today

To Related image to the Multimedia Gallery From the Qoricancha the people are invited to participate in a ceremony which will end nine hours later at the Saccsayhuaman esplanade. The Inca, from his bier, surveys the streets of Cusco on his way to the Main Square (Plaza de Armas). The sharp trumpeting of the "pututus" (large shells) announces his entry.

The hills vibrate. The town joins the celebrationTo Related image to the Multimedia Gallery. Some carry banners. At the sides, groups of women sweep away the evil spirits with branches of 'cedroncillo'. Some 30 Nust'akunas color the streets in yellow with the flowers of the 'retama'; others, carry straw baskets bearing fruit, potatoes, idols and gold amulets. The melody of quenas and the martial beat of the drum are heard. All is dance and joy.

On reaching the Main Square, the Inca steps up to the "Usnu" (altar) and asks the mayor that they work together towards the well-being and progress of the community. After this symbolic act, ascent starts towards Saccsayhuaman.

General expectation throughout the fortress. All await the arrival of the Inca. Everyone wants to see him climb up to the sacred altar where he will raise his arms to venerate the sun in company of his Aiki (son), the Willaq Uma (high priest), the Kallpa Rikuq (military priests) and the Kamani (guardians of the temple). "Powerful Sun of eternal happiness, warm fountain, the beginning of life, father almighty of everything created....", sings the Inca in quechua while the -ustas and warriors take their places to perform, in turn, the dances of the four 'suyos'.

The Inca toasts with chicha and sacrifices a llama. Now he raises his blood-stained hand and displays the animal's heart. The scene is impacting and many take it for real. The priests then guess the future in the viscera taken from the animal.

The high priest and military priests descend from the altar carrying flaming torches and burn the stacks of straw placed throughout the fortress. After gazing at the tongues of fire, they predict well-being for the Empire. The Inca drinks in communion corn flour with blood from the sacrificed llama. The ceremony ends. The community and tourists who have come to visit Cusco mix in the fortress. The sun, from up high, watches with pleasure the ceremony offered by its sons. Its brilliance still with that unusual intensity.


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