June festivals: Peru’s Festival of the Sun

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By Karen Hartwriter

Find out about an Incan festival and make sun mask decorations.

Sun mask 1

The Inti Raymi or ‘The Festival of the Sun’ is the most important Andean festival and is celebrated by the Inca cultures every winter solstice. Originally, the Inca (king) and native residents gathered to honour the Sun God, sacrifice an animal to ensure a plentiful harvest and pay homage to the Inca, as the first born Son of the Sun. In 1572, celebrations were banned for being against the Catholic faith. They continued however, with ceremonies going underground

Today, the Inti Raymi celebrations see hundreds of thousands of people converging on Cuzco for a week-long celebration marking the beginning of an Incan new year. Each day of the festival brings special events such as street fairs and dancing, with actors being chosen to represent historical figures. In the evenings there’s free live music from popular Peruvian music groups.

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