In Cusco is celebrated on June 24 the “Inti Raymi”, a festival that is the legacy of the Inca Empire in honor of the sun god and symbolized the indissoluble union between “Inti (the sun) and children, men. It is the second most popular party in Latin America after the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
Inti Raymi (quechua “festival of the Sun”) was an ancient Andean religious ceremony to honor the sun god. The “Inti Raymi” contemporary version is from the June 24, 1944 when the festivities were instituted in the city in memory of their ancient origin and birthplace of the great Inca civilization.
Before the colonial Spaniards banned the ceremonial events occurring each Winter Solstice in Cusco, the native residents gathered to honor the Sun God, sacrifice an animal to ensure good crops and to pay homage to the Inca, as the first born Son of the Sun. The historic ceremony of Inti Raymi is based on the available chronicles, the ritual was composed in his Native Quechua and the event is held in the Sacsayhuaman amphitheater. The hillsides and the monument terraces surrounding the amphitheater fill with a vast crowd for this event. The event occurs on the morning of the Winter Solstice, as was the case in the prehistoric era. The reenactment portrays only the religious portion of the ancient nine day festival, its invocation, which originally began before sunrise on the solstice. The reenactment occurs later in the morning.