An explosion of colors, music and indigenous traditions in the Northern Sierra...
Text by: César Cotacachi
The Inti Raymi or “party of the sun and harvest” is one of the most important ancestral celebrations of the indigenous communities of the Andes of Ecuador. Several events will be taking place at different sites starting on the weekend of June 18th and 19th.
Every June 21st, during the summer solstice, the indigenous communities go to sacred springs, rivers and waterfalls to carry out a communitarian ritual. From the Andean Cosmo vision, this ritual allows for the spiritual purification of the human being, the recuperation of energy and revitalization of the relationship with Mother Nature.
The Inti Raymi is the time when the Earth offers all of its fruits after the Andean agricultural cycle ends one of its phases. The communities prepare various foods based in maize such as “mote”, “colada” and “chicha” and drinks that are part of the celebration. Dancers arrive following the rhythm of lively music inviting Mother Earth toparticipate in the celebration lead by the Aya Uma, a mythological character wearing a mask with two faces and twelve horns. The two faces represent night and day, whereas the horns represent the twelve months of the year. The Aya Uma is considered the spirit of the mountain, which comes down to the communities to accompany the town people during the celebration dedicated to the sun, the moon and nature.
This party full of color, myth and traditional knowledge and syncretism, goes on for various days and in some communities even for weeks. The Inti Raymi is a time of reunion with the family, the community and what is more important, Mother Earth.
Photos courtesy of César Cotacachi & Ministerio de Turismo