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Peru - Countryman's Day/Day of the Indian/Dia del Indio

Description Officially, it's "Inti Raymi" (Festival of the Sun")

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Before the colonial Spaniards banned the ceremonial events occurring each Winter Solstice in Cuzco, the native residents gathered to honor the Sun God, sacrifice an animal to ensure good crops and to pay homage to the Inca, as the first born Son of the Sun.

The ceremonies took place at the winter solstice, when the sun is farthest from the earth. Fearing the lack of sun and ensuing famine, the ancient Incas gathered in Cuzco to honor the Sun God and plead for his return. The celebrants fasted for days before the event, refrained from physical pleasures and presented gifts to the Inca, who in return put on a lavish banquet of meat, corn bread, chicha and coca tea as they prepared to sacrifice llamas to ensure good crops and fertile fields.

In 1572, Viceroy Toledo banned Inti Raymi celebrations as pagan and contrary to the Catholic faith. Following the edict, the ceremonies went underground.

Today, it's the second largest festival in South America. Hundreds of thousands of people converge on Cuzco from other parts of the nation, South America and the world for a week long celebration marking the beginning of a new year, the Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun.
Date Tue, June 24, 2008
Repeat Type Yearly
Priority 5-Medium
Access Public
Category National Holiday*
Created by Gary Hill
Updated Mon, June 23, 2008 11:22pm GMT
Participants National Holidays
Attachments None
Comments None