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Inti Raymi: Peru’s Festival of the Sun

Inti Raymi, Peru’s Festival of the Sun, is an annual celebration held in Cusco on June 24, coinciding with the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. This vibrant festival attracts visitors from around the globe, eager to witness a magnificent tribute to the sun, honoring ancient Inca rituals and traditions.

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Inti Raymi, meaning “Festival of the Sun” in Quechua, dates back to the Inca Empire, when it was celebrated to thank the sun for its life-giving energy and to plead for its return during the winter solstice, the time when the sun is at its farthest point from the Earth. Thousands would gather to implore the sun god, Inti, to return and nourish their crops, ensuring a bountiful harvest.

Historically, the celebration would last throughout the day, featuring a procession of ancestral mummies, traditional dances, and the reading and burning of coca leaves. Today, Inti Raymi has evolved into a grand theatrical production, offering a captivating re-enactment of the ancient festival. Thousands of actors don elaborate costumes to bring the past to life for modern spectators, blending history with performance art.

Inti Raymi: Peru's Festival of the Sun
Inti Raymi, Cusco, Sacsayhuamán, Peru Photo Credit: Deposit Photos, Viagero72

The event begins at the Coricancha, the Temple of the Sun, where participants offer a warm welcome to the sun god. The procession then moves to Sacsayhuamán, an impressive Inca fortress overlooking Cusco, where performers showcase traditional Inca dances.

Inti Raymi celebrates the enduring legacy of the Inca civilization and its profound connection to the sun.

Related Books & Activities 

Festival of the Sun picture book

Run, Little Chaski A tale set in the time of the ancient Inka empire follows the experiences of new royal messenger, Little Chaski, who finds an important assignment on his first day challenged by a trapped condor in desperate need of help.

Print a free coloring page and maze from Barefoot Books!

Explore Further with activities from Kids Discover. Learn about Inca history, the Andes mountain range, important animals, and how to make a quipu (knot-record).

Print this fun symmetry activity!