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Inca Festivals

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Inca Festivals

The organization of the Inca calendar and festivities was linked to the agrarian regime that they practiced, and, in this, the observation of the movements of the Sun, the Moon and the stars greatly influenced. In the year called huata, they divided it into 12 lunar months of 28 days each and the rest dedicated them to their great festivals of a religious nature. They determined, almost exactly, the arrival of the stations (equinoxes and solstices) and built the so-called solar watches and intihuatanas, like those observed in Machu Picchu and Pisac. Surely it is not known when the year began for the Incas, but being for the reforms imposed by Pachacútec, it seems that they started it in the month of December.

 

Main holidays:

While it is true that the Inca people were eminently agricultural, and these tasks spent most of their time, however, there were periods of rest that were devoted to worship and tribute to their gods and beings whom they believed superior and, as such, subject to veneration. These periods were represented by the parties, among which are:


Inti Raymi Festival:

The Inti Raymi Festival was the main festivity of the Incas, it was also called Easter of the Sun. It was celebrated in the month of June, coinciding with the Winter solstice. From three days before the date determined by the Inca, the faithful of Cusco kept a strict fast, the city remained without lights and it was forbidden to light a fire until the sunrise arrived. As soon as this happened, the town congregated in the square or Aukaypata, forming a huge crowd. Then the Inca appeared, preceded by a court of richly dressed nobles, and scarcely the first rays of sunlight spilled among the foothills and illuminated the city, a clamor rose from that effervescent crowd, while the drums of thousands and Thousands of warriors thundered the space as a sign of veneration and respect. At this supreme moment, the Inca drank in a golden cup, the sacred liquor or chicha, specially made by the acllas, in honor of the Astral King, then he poured it into a canal, thus giving the signal for the people to begin to drink. in great quantities. It was, then, a celebration of thanks for the harvested crops, since in the month of June the plants have fructified and the grain has been collected. In this same ceremony the Willaj-Umu sacrificed a flame and made predictions about the agricultural future and imperial greatness.

 

How is Inti Raymi Festival celebrated? :

After 60 years, this unique festival became part of the tradition in the city of Cusco. Today, its main feature is the colorful representation and history of the ancient Wawa Inti Raymi ceremony. This staging is performed by hundreds of actors wearing typical Inca clothing. The main role is held by the high priest Willaq Umo, the Inca nobility, the Inca and his wife the coya. In addition there are personifications of the entourage of the Inca, his delegates of the four of his or corners of the Tahuantinsuyo. This staging lasts 1 day, in which the entire 'Imperial City' lives with joy the Sun Feast.

 

When is Inri Raymi Festival celebrated?

On June 24 of each year, Cusco celebrates the Inti Raymi. This date is due to the fact that it coincides with the Day of the Peasant. In Cusco, that date was declared a holiday. June is considered the jubilee month of Cusco, not only for the celebration of this festival but also for the famous Corpus Christi.

 

Where is it celebrated?

The staging takes place in 3 specific sites of Cusco (that you can enjoy during a normal city tour) with great historical significance:

  • Qoricancha.- The Temple of the Sun or Qoricancha, from the first hours of the day, begins the Sun Feast. This representation takes place in the so-called golden garden. It begins with the appearance of the Inca. The first rituals offer coca leaves, llamas, alpacas and more. The staging is free. You should only approach from the first hours of the day to El Sol Avenue. The staging starts at 09:00 a.m. and it lasts 45 minutes on average.
  • Main Square.- The historic center of Cusco is the nerve center of the celebrations of the Sun Feast. The Main Square is cordoned off. The Inca is loaded on litter by eight servants and performs the so-called Coca Ceremony. There is a platform for tourists who bought their ticket. However, most visitors have to observe the staging of the ritual standing up. The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. and lasts about an hour.
  • Sacsayhuaman.- The Chuquipampa esplanade in the Sacsayhuaman fortress is the main stage for the representation of the Inti Raymi. This place was very important during the Incas. Today, access to the public is only allowed with an entrance ticket. There are 3 platforms or tribunes conditioned to the tourist. The staging starts at 01:30 p.m. and it lasts almost two hours.

Ausangate Festival:

This festival most known as Qoyluur Ritt'iIt is celebrated every year in honor of the Lord of Qoyllorit'i, it is held in the district of Ocongate (Quispicanchis), on the slopes of the Ausangate mountain at 5362 masl, in the department of Cusco. This festival is one of the largest religious activities that takes place in the southern highlands of Peru,

 

The festivity brings together a large number of devotees who call themselves nations, coming from different towns and cities.According to the belief, the Child Jesus, disguised as a shepherd, appeared to an indigenous child, Marianito Mayta, and both became friends. When the parents found them dressed in rich attire, they notified the parish priest of the place, Pedro de Landa, who tried to capture him but without success, because in the place of the Child a stone appeared. Marianito died immediately and the image of the Lord of Qoyllur Rit'i was fixed on the rock. The festival and sanctuary of the Qoyllorit'i were declared cultural patrimony of the nation on August 10, 2004. Subsequently on November 27, 2011, Unesco registered the "Pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the Lord of Qoyllorit'i" as a member of the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

PILGRIMAGE TO MR. OF QOYLLOR RIT'I


The Ausangate Festival, or  festival of Qoyllor Rit'i Lord is one of the Catholic festivities fused with the Andean, located in the place of Sinacara that congregates an endless number of pilgrims devoted to the miraculous image, entire populations of southern Peru, also called Nations that are organizations of comparsas and devotees, come from different places of the provinces of Cusco. Despite the imposition of the Catholic religion the Andeans did not forget their religious traditions, keeping them almost in a hidden form. Nature, for them, had its own spiritual representations: the Apu, spirit of the hill; the Pachamama, the earth and the Inti, the Sun as divine doer.

The festival begins on the day of the Most Holy Trinity, when more than 10,000 pilgrims ascend to the limit of perpetual snow. It reaches minimum temperatures of -4 °C. The path is accompanied by a procession, fireworks and the symbolic market of the Alacitas (fair of miniature crafts). After five hours of walking you will arrive at the sanctuary, you will have to do the greeting of honor to the image of Christ the miracle in the afternoon all the comparsas (group of musicians and dancers) make their official entry by Nations, you will see a total almost 200 comparsas giving their official greeting that lasts almost all night, accompany different dancers who symbolize various mythical characters. The "pablitos" or "ucucos" who are the intermediaries between the Lord of Qoylloriti and the men and those who maintain discipline during the liturgical acts, are people dressed as bear (black suit made of thick cloth and wool, with a chullo) that they make order and peace that they also call the soldiers of the Lord.

The next day, the day of the serenade that begins with liturgical ceremonies in honor of miraculous Christ or also called peasant Christ. In the afternoon the serenade begins with a dance show parading through the atrium and interior of the sanctuary; at midnight a group of forts Queros, residents of what is perhaps the purest Quechua community in Peru, disguised as pabluchas, leaves for the summits of the snow (6,362 masl) in search of the Star of the Snow that is enclosed in its entrails and also where the baptisms of the new dancers and judgments are done by the guards where they punish those people who have made mistakes and who already find out at the foot of the snowed place that is sent secret envelopes that up there read. Back in their communities, these strong settlers carry large ice blocks on their backs to symbolically water their lands with the sacred water of Ausangate.

The central day after doing the ritual at sunrise comes down from the snow covered caravan headed by the Calvary towards the sanctuary; hours later the central mass is carried out later the procession of Mr. de Ccoyllorritti represented by Mr. de Tayancani, concludes with the farewell of each comparsa giving chants or (Watascama) to the gentleman finally they return towards the population of Mahuayani, soon to embark to their places of origin.

The end of the procession takes place in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco with the processions of Corpus Christi, the streets and squares are full of people, music and color.

 


 

 

 

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