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Inca Festivals


The Inca were connected to the earth because most of them were farmers. Like all people relying on nature, they were at a constant risk from the unpredictability of it. A lot of the festivals were based off of agricultural cycles, mainly the 4 seasons.


All of the festivals they celebrated were either to honor their gods, honor their kings, banish evil from their city, or celebrate a harvest. Usually they sacrificed people, llamas, sheep, and gold or silver. Most of the festivals consisted of dancing, singing, sacrifices and a feast. In some festivals men were not allowed to look at women, eat fruit, or use bad language. If they were caught they would be killed.


Usually the poor people of the Inca did not really play a major role in the festivals, except for the ones that were being sacrificed. Either the emperor or priest would lead a ceremony. The Incas were sometimes required to cut themselves, dance, sing, carry a dead king through the streets, pray, or sacrifice their belongings. Some girls that were noble or very beautiful had the option of become a servant to the gods. They spent 4 years making chicha and weaving textiles for ceremonies and priests.


The Inca calendar had twelve months that had thirty days in them. Each month had its own festival and the Incan year began in December. December was the great Feast of the Sun. A lot of gold and silver was sacrificed to the sun, and about hundred children, boys and girls were buried alive. After the sacrifice, a great feast is held at which they eat and drink to the Sun, and people who become too drunk, or who have contact with women, or who use bad language are all put to death. January was the Incas fasting and penance month. During January they offered sacrifices, and fasted. They covered their bodies with ashes, and went in a procession to the temples of the different gods. September was the great Feast of the Moon, and Wife of the sun. Priests banished evil from their city with torches. November was the Feast of the Dead. The mummies of dead kings are carried through the city. They are given food, dressed in fine clothing, and the people sing and dance in their company while they carry them thought the streets.


( Inti Raymi)


The passing of the winter solstice was the most important festival, it was called Inti Raymi. During Inti Raymi the Inca called forth Viracocha and Pachacamac, their most powerful gods. Inti Raymi began at dawn priest started chanting and the children that were aged 10 to 12 were buried alive together with gold and silver objects. After an elaborate ceremony symbolizing the sun drinking chicha (a maize beer) and the Inca drinking in the sun, the Inca toasted to the emperor, then the nobles, and then to the rest of the Inca people. Inti Raymi usually lasted nine days, full of feasting, dancing, and drinking.


In the year 1532 the Spaniards destroyed the Incan empire. They made it against the law to practice the Inca religion, especially since they had at least one festival every month. Some small groups of old Incas that had not been killed continued to teach the Inca ways in secret. Today some of the Inca festivals are still celebrated in Peru.














inti Raymi. N.d. Study Spanish Sacred Valley. Sacred Valley, 2007. Web. 25 Jan. 



Schartow, Senor, ed. "Inca Festivals." Linden Spanish Club. Linden Highschool 

     Spanish Club, 2009. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.lindenspanishclub.org/ 



Wikipedia contributers. "Religion in the Inca empire." En.Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 

     the free encyclopedia, 22 Dec. 2009. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. 



















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