Inti Raymi: A One Of A Kind Tradition

Inti Raymi: A One Of A Kind Tradition
In Ecuadorian tradition, the Inti Raymi is a festivity in which homage and thanks are paid to the Sun God and Mother Earth.

In Ecuadorian tradition, the Inti Raymi is a festivity that goes back to the celebrations of the great nation Cañari-Inca, in which homage and thanks are paid to the Sun God and Mother Earth (Pacha Mama), for the kindness of allowing a good harvest of traditional Ecuadorian products such as corn and potatoes.

As a celebration, it is manifested with music and dance with hundreds of ensembles that in each village of the mountain range display colorful traditional costumes that proudly show the ethnic roots of the Ecuadorian nationality.

This event takes place every year, from 17 to 23 June, and is part of a cultural event deeply rooted in the traditions of both the Andean heritage and western culture, where the intermingling of an extraordinary tradition is revealed through rituals of both Catholicism and a tribute to the sun.

This tradition shows us the change of the winter solstice and manifests itself on June 21, when the sun is closest to Earth. This makes the day the shortest and the night the longest.

This fact, which was followed and studied by the priests of the Inca, led to the search to have dominion over the lands where the sun comes to present its maximum splendor and the earth appears closer to the deity worshipped by the Inca. Many of the Inca’s incursions into the Quitu Cara land may have originated from that search for the center of the earth.

The Inti Raymi has not only cultural connotations but also reflects humanity’s longing to renew energies and seek the cosmic connection of the spirit with the universe. During this tradition, the shamans make purification baths and the traditional Andean food, where the corn, the melloco, the bean, and the guinea pig are present. They are served on a tablecloth on the floor and the whole community enjoys the moment with the traditional drink of the chicha in the great pambamesa.

One of the main characters of the festival is the Aya Uma (Devil’s Head) or Devil Huma, which has an important spiritual meaning for the communities. The name devil has a connotation of the legacy of the Spanish conquest, to sow fear in the indigenous world, to celebrate festivals in honor of the gods of nature such as the sun, the moon, and the Pachamama. With time his name, Diablo Huma, transcends the connotation of evil given by the Spanish religion, and through his dance, he becomes once again the person in charge of connecting the universe and the earth with the good energy.

His clothing is particularly remarkable because of its colorful mask with two faces, representing the contradictions of good and evil, the sun and the moon, day, and night, north and south, present in the cosmos. The mask has four types of ears that refer to the four directions and the four elements of nature air, water, fire, and earth, according to several historical documents. The whip, a symbol of power and authority, complements the figure of the dancer.

For everyone who wants to have the deepest experience of the Andean world, visit us in the month of June, where the center of the world makes the sunshine more intensely and the Andean landscape of mountains, snows, and intense greenery, allows us to renew energies, with the most unique celebration. Ingapirca, in the province of Cañar, and Otavalo, in Imbabura, are cities that stand out with their colorful festivities.

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