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Inti Raymi

PERU | Monday, 25 June 2007 | Views [582]

Last night we arrived in Cusco after a very brief stop in Arequipa (literally one evening, overnight, and leave at 7am), after an 11-hour bus ride that we had originally expected to last 6 hours. Surprise! We were wrong, as usual! But we got off the bus and caught a cab to the town center around 6pm, just in time to find out that the festivities for Inti Raymi (the Inca festival for the summer solstice) had begun. The streets were literally packed with people as far as you can see, all dancing and marching and standing in the darkness with candles, costumes, and decorations. It was mad! The taxi ended up dropping us pretty far from the hostel, and we had to walk through insane crowds of people carrying our huge backpacks for about 45 minutes to get through the parade/ Stopped in at another hostel's bar, for "a drink," which turned into us playing Whiskey Poker with a Brit, 4 Isrealis, and the bartender, then clubhopping until nearly 5AM. Ever see an Isreali give a lapdance to a refrigerator? They are a WILD bunch. Too much fun, very very cool people.

Today we all went up on this huge hill outside town, along with countless thousands of other people to enjoy the day on old Inca ruins. Music, dancing, reenactments, and a beautiful day made for a fabulous afternoon- it was so colorful, and the number of people there I cannot even describe. It was so wild!

From Wikipedia because I'm far too lazy to explain it:

The Inti Raymi ("Festival of the Sun") was a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honor of the god Inti. It also marked the winter solstice and a new year in the Andes of the Southern Hemisphere. Since 1944, a theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi has been taking place at Sacsayhuamán (two km. from Cusco) on June 24 of each year, attracting thousands of tourists and local visitors.

During the Inca Empire, the Inti Raymi was the most important of four ceremonies celebrated in Cusco, as related by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. The ceremony was also said to indicate the mythical origin of the Incas, lasting nine days of colorful dances and processions, as well as animal sacrifices to ensure a good cropping season. The last Inti Raymi with the Inca Emperor's presence was carried out in 1535, after which the Spanish conquest and the Catholic Church suppressed it. Some natives participated in similar ceremonies in the years after, but it was completely prohibited in 1572 by the Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, who claimed it was a pagan ceremony opposed to the Catholic faith.

Anywho, just a couple of hours ago we returned to the hostel to run into none other than the wicked Irish folks we did the wine tour/cards/sandboarding with in Huacachina! We're all heading out again tonight, the club scene in Cusco is so great. Ee even found really rad clubs that play American music, so we can actually dance and not look ridiculous! To each other anyway. I love salsa clubs, but feel completely useless at them, so it's a nice change to just dance to techno and rock and pop again :D

Tags: party time

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