The Inti Raymi or Sun Feast was the most important festivity on the Inca’s times. It was celebrated due to the winter solstice - new solar year - for a town whose main object of worship was the God Inti (The sun) in the Huacaypata Square in Cusco.
The religious, ceremonial, social and political importance was such that the feast was extended in all the Tahuantinsuyo. After the Spaniard conquest, the festivity was suspended by the Catholic Church and the society that celebrated the sun feast was dismembered. The Inti Raymi was forgotten until the mid-twentieth century when, as an expression of a great movement of revaluation of native culture in Peru had returned to the scene.
In 1944 a group of intellectuals and artists from Cusco (heads by Humberto Vidal U.) decided to recover the Inti Raymi form history and present it as a theatrical type show, destined for the whole population of Cusco. Since then, with very few exceptions, it has been represented every year, prospering and evolving for the historical research.
In the Incas times the Inti Raymi was a religious ceremony and now it is a theatrical representation. However, this expression generates a sense of identity in the village which evokes values and memories that are still relevant today, it also brings the memory of a time that still lives in the heart of the town of Cusco. The show is expressed in its original language, quechua, with its corresponding translation into Spanish to facilitate a better understanding.
On June 24 of each year, the solemn evocation of the splendid Inca rite ceremony is made in Sacsayhuaman, with a renovated and prepared by distinguished specialists in the field script.
On the night before all of the fires of the empire (The Tahuantinsuyo) were turned off and the shiniest ones of the empire were concentrated in the Huacaypata square (Main square nowadays).
The crowd awaited for the appearance of the God Inti (sun) in the shadows with great respect. Generals, princes and all the nobility waited in deep silence, many of them dressed as wild beasts and other animals from the Andean mythology.
When the sun finally appeared they expressed its recognition that they had for him as a unique and universal God that with its light and its virtue created and sustained all of the thing of the Earth, thanking him for the harvest they received that year.
The Inca with help of the priest “induced” the God Inti (Sun) just when he reached its maximum point of distance and its approach to Cusco began, to be turned with the favor of its beams, to fertilize the ground and to try to well-being of the children of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire.
The sacred fire was renewed with a concave gold bracelet that was put against the solar light, whose reflexes are projected on a piece of cotton which caught fire in short time. The sacred fire was taken to the Coricancha where it would be retained by the Acllas. A sacrifice of a llama was made during the ceremony to predict the coming year, then a military march was held and after that all of the people leave to then explode in unbridled excitement that lasted for several days.