Cusco, the Inca capital of South America hosts the Inti Raymi festival of the sun every June. I was lucky enough to arrive during the street parade in the city. With a carnival atmosphere and an incredible display of creativity, I had a wonderful introduction to this historical city.
When travelling in Peru, you would have to have your ears shut not to hear about Pachamama. The goddess is a similar entity to the idea of Mother Nature and is still honoured by the indigenous people of the Andes today. Amongst other things, they worship her to ask for good weather and conditions for growing crops.
Less frequently discussed with travellers, but related to Pachamama (either her son or her husband, depending where you read) is Inti. Equally important for growing food, he is the Inca god of the sun. Historically in June, Inca’s would sacrifice many llamas and other unfortunate creatures in a ceremony to worship Inti.
The tradition is still marked at Sacsayhuamán, but is tourist friendly and no llamas are hurt within the making of the ceremony!
During the build up to the main ceremony, there is a procession throughout the streets and I was extremely lucky to turn up (by accident) just in time to see it. Handmade costumes and elaborate carnivalesque creations carefully made their way through the streets lined with excited onlookers. I squeezed in to take a peek at the city, filled to the brim with colour and South American creativity.
The costumes represented a variety of elements to celebrate the sun and what it gives to us. Here are some of my favourites…
Cusqueños in the parade
Have you ever been to a South American festival?