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Inti Raymi: Peru’s Festival of the Sun

Inti Raymi, Peru’s Festival of the Sun, takes place every year in Cusco on June 24 (the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere).

People come from all over the world to witness a spectacular tribute to the sun.

Inti Raymi: Peru's Festival of the Sun

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An Inca Solstice Celebration

Inti Raymi is an ancient Inca festival filled with rituals and traditions to thank the sun and the life it provides.

The ceremony took place each year at a time when the sun was furthest from the earth- the winter solstice. Thousands of people gathered to plead with the sun god to return and give life to their crops.

The festivities would last all day and include a procession of ancestral mummies, special dances, and reading and burning coca leaves.

Inti Raymi Today

The modern-day version is more of a theatrical production than a religious ceremony. Thousands of actors bring the past alive by re-enacting the ancient festival for the spectators.

The event begins at the sun temple, known as the Coricancha, for a welcome to the sun god.

A procession heads to the Sacsayhuamán, an Inca fortress above Cusco, where colorful performers showcase authentic dance from the Inca empire.

Inti Raymi: Peru's Festival of the Sun

Inti Raymi, Cusco, Sacsayhuamán, Peru Photo Credit: Deposit Photos, Viagero72

Related Books & Activities 

Festival of the Sun

Follow Yana to learn how Peruvian people prepare for their annual sun festival.

Endnotes provide more information about the festival, the Inca Empire, and the people and animals of the Andes Mountains.

Festival of the Sun picture book

 

Up and Down the Andes

This rhyming text takes readers from Lake Titicaca to the city of Cusco for the Inti Raymi festival.

Children from many areas of southern Peru are traveling to the festival, each using a different mode of transport. Includes several pages of helpful endnotes about Peru’s history and culture.

 

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

Get crafty with materials and tools that would have been familiar to the Inca themselves.

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