Peruvian Spotlight: Inti Raymi Peruvian Festival of the Sun

With Peru and in particular Machu Picchu still fresh in our minds, JNR now takes you to the dynamic and glorious Inti Raymi or the Festival of the Sun, which is celebrated in Cusco, Peru each year on June 24. This festival coincides with their Winter Solstice, when the sun is farthest away from the earth, and is a time to worship the Sun God, Inti, who is the main deity of the Incan Empire religion, and his wife Pachmama, who is prayed to for a successful and fertile harvest season.

Today, the festival is a reenactment of the customary celebration and includes traditions that date back 500 years. The celebrations take part at the dramatic stone ruins of Sacsayhuamán and can last up to five hours. Each year, one lucky actor is selected to play Sapa Inca, the emperor, who delivers a thrilling performance that highlights the eternal sanctification of the bond between the Sun and humans. A mock llama is sacrificed, his head held high to Pachmama and the future is read from its faux blood.

As the sun sets, bonfires are set for the first time that day and the procession then winds through the town of Cusco where the streets are filled with lively people dancing and singing in vibrant clothing. Priests and other participants dress in three main costumes: the snake which symbolizes the underworld, the puma which represents life on earth and the condor which represents the heavenly world of the gods. You will also see women sweeping away evil spirits and streets covered in beautiful flowers and petals.

It is customary to drink and toast with chichi, a fermented beverage most commonly derived from maize, throughout the festival, and Sank’u, the Andean people’s main meal, should be tried – both can be bought from food and beverage vendors at most venues.

Quechua is the traditional language of the Incas and can be heard throughout this ceremony which more than 64,000 people celebrate annually.

Why not plan to visit the festival before traveling to the breathtaking city of Machu Picchu? If you would like more information on how to organize an amazing incentive trip to this fantastic festival, please email

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Inti Raymi” by Carlos Dίaz is licensed under CC BY 2.0