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Peru is famous not only for its iconic scenery, world-class surfing beaches, and Machu Picchu, but also its array of cultural festivals that attract millions of travellers every year. One of these, possibly the most famous of them all, is called Inti Raymi—also known as the Festival of the Sun.
Peru’s Festival of the Sun, also known as Inti Raymi, takes place every year on June 24, and is a celebration of the Winter Solstice in tribute to the Peruvian Sun God known as Inti. It’s a big cultural event for Peru, as it was banned by the Catholic Church and the Spanish colonisers in 1535 and its modern form of celebration wasn’t rekindled until 1944. Ever since, the country has come together to celebrate the Festival of the Sun, which starts off in front of the Inca Temple of the Sun (known as Korikancha), before making its way to Plaza de Armas in Cusco, and finishing up in Saqsayhuman.
According to historical records, the first Inti Raymi took place in the year 1412 when the Inca’s prayed for the Sun God’s return to earth. Dancing, singing, cultural plays, and delicious feasts occur amongst a glorious crowd of thousands and a seriously organised assortment of actors to the tune of 500!
The event is so big, in fact, that there are grandstand seats going for up to $140 USD a pop during the final celebration, but given that this is an all-day event, it’s worth getting a ticket to experience the entire spectacle from start to finish. We recommend getting to Saqsayhuman around 8am to find the best viewing spot in the stands with a stunning vista of the surrounding mountains.
Leading up to June 24, there is a week’s worth of daily celebrations which include everything from musical concerts to traditional plays and street fairs; all in all, Inti Raymi is a proud celebration of Peru’s past and is a beacon for those wishing to explore the beauty of the country’s culture.
Make sure it’s at the top of your wish list on your next visit to Peru!