Published on June 5th, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut
This Month, Ecuador Gears Up for Inti Raymi
It happens every year in June, when the winter solstice takes place in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a time when all the Andean families and lots of visitors get together to celebrate the Incan’s main festivity: the Inti Raymi —meaning “the Sun’s solemn resurrection” in Quichua — is a gratitude ceremony to thank the gods for the collected crops. It is a moment where history is renewed and passed on to new generations. During three days, people are shown what the greatest festivity of South America’s largest kingdom was like. If we ask the residents about it, they would tell us a story that would go like this: Five hundred years ago, the Incas that inhabited the Andes believed the winter solstice was not only a moment to thank the gods for the wealthy crops, but also a moment to remember their origins. The party was rigorously prepared: it started when the political leaders or curacas arrived at the place where the celebration would take place, dressed up with their best outfits and taking with them the most modern inventions as an offering to the Sun god. During the three days of celebration, the whole village had to follow three simple rules: to eat only what was strictly necessary; to keep from starting up any kind of fire; and to keep from having sexual relations. Once the day had come, the highest-ranked chief and his family would wait early in the morning for the sun to rise, which indicated the beginning of the main praising ritual. Everyone would get on their knees, presenting their offerings and drinking a toast with the Inca’s traditional drink: the chicha. After that, the celebration started: the attendants would have a taste of the meat of a sacrificed animal, cooked by the fire created with solar rays that where concentrated through the chief’s golden bracelet; and they would drink great amounts of chicha during the three party days. The legend says that if a child with noble Incan descendants was to be born during those days, he would become the Empire’s new leader. Nowadays in Ecuador, the celebration of Inti Raymi starts every 22th of June. It is a real cultural celebration that brings back to life the country’s ancient history. The town of Ingapirca fills with life: there are children playing and bathing in the river; men dressed up in colorful traditional garments and wearing masks, dancing to the rhythm of Andean music; women in shiny, embroidered dresses; handcrafts on sale; and fresh, delicious traditional dishes. Here, the visitor will be always welcomed by the warmth of the Ecuadorian people.
Article Source: http://www.ecuadoralacarte.com