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Peruvians welcome winter solstice with Incan ceremony for the sun

Performers recreated the ancient Incan Festival of the Sun or Inti Raymi in the Peruvian city of Cusco on Monday (June 24) to mark the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere.

The ritual takes place inside the Incan complex of Sacsayhuaman. It is a celebration of the sun and opens with the grand entrance of an Incan leader, surrounded by his subjects. He then pours the ancient Incan fermented corn drink, known as “chicha”, over the ground from a ceremonial urn as an offering to “Mother Earth”.

“It’s amazing, everything was wonderful,” said Argentine tourist Leah.

The ceremony reaches its climax with the fake sacrifice of a llama to the sun god Inti. Incan priests would pull out the animal’s heart and place it in a fire to predict the destiny of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire.

The last Inti Raymi with the Inca Emperor’s presence was carried out in 1535 before it was banned in 1572 by Spanish Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, who claimed it was a pagan ceremony opposed to the Catholic faith.


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