Inti Raymi – Ecuador Otavalo

Feast of thanks to the Sun and Mother Earth (Pachamama)

The Inti Raymi is one of all the festivities that are in force and has managed to survive to this day, the feast of the indigenous peoples of the South American Andes. As it is an Inca tradition this celebration remains a rite in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

Formerly the Inti Raymi lasted 15 days that had dances, worship of ancestors, rituals and sacrifices to worship the Sun God, it is known that the last celebration in the presence of an Inca emperor was given in 1535. As recounted by the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616), the Inti Raymi meant that the sun god was reborn to start a new annual cycle.

It is said that the preparation of the celebration was strict, three days before the feast only ate a little white corn, raw, yerbas chúcam and pure water, in addition that no fire is lit throughout the city and refrained from sleeping with the women. At sunrise the Inca king and his relatives waited in the square in squats with open arms, the nobles did not mingle with the lower class, the subdued leaders delivered offerings of their lands, among the festin is the meat of cattle and a lot of chicha.

The outfits they wore were colorful, with plumage, the warrior costumes covered in gold, silver, turquoise and emeralds stand out. During the celebration the sovereign was seated on his golden throne carried by his loaders, wearing a kind of dress with a sash on his waist of various colors, also had a large red robe with beautiful embroidery and on his head a gold helmet.

He was accompanied by a entourage of important officials such as indigenous women with embroidered skirts and multicolored blouses, wearing branches of cedroncillo, with which they are deterring evil spirits. Others spill yellow flowers, while others load wicker baskets with offerings, including fruits, flowers and gold amulets. It should be noted that in that celebration all were barefoot. The soldiers of the Inca used their shields in one hand and in the other they had a star made of wood, and they also wore a helmet.

The holiday assesses whether the maize harvest was good, appreciated and if it was bad, begging for the coming year to compensate them with good production. In addition, the  Power or Energy was held, and then begin a planning of the unfulfilled activities to start others such as: educational, organizational, social, political and economic; complying with the norms and principles of Man and the cosmic power of the Pachamama.

On the occasion of the festivity of the Inti Raymi, in the city of Quito and in other cities were held round tables, where cultural activists, intellectuals and the academic world discussed the importance of this Andean and Inca festival in honor of the Inti, the Sun God.

The Chacana or Andean Cross

First white grains are placed, representing the air, then the red grains that symbolize the fire, the yellows that are the earth and the blacks are water. Once they managed to make the cross, a perfect four-pointed figure, they began to decorate the interior. At the north tip they put cups full of water and jugs with rose water because it is the door of water itself.

«Water symbolizes fertility, life.» To the south is the air gate, where the tobacco is placed because while they smoke them and release the air, they connect with their ancestors. In addition, a cane with the eagle and the falcon representing the northern and southern peoples, respectively.

The east door corresponds to the sun, to the fire. A few lit incenses placed in that sector while in the west gate is placed fruits and vegetables to represent the land or the Pachamama and the fruits it provides.

Main activities

  • June 24: Kallpashun, Puruhá Road. This race with routes of seven and 15 kilometers, summons the indigenous and mixed-race athletes from all over the province and consists of running through the moors of Cacha, just as the messengers of antiquity did.

  • June 24: Inti Raymi Ceremony. The celebration will be held at the Pucara Tambo viewpoint at 10:00. The yachaks will perform a ceremony of thanks to the sun for the energy, traditional food and indigenous dances.

  • June 28: The Shaythes of St. Peter and St. Paul. The Catholic festivities of the patron saint of Riobamba, San Pedro, coincide with the celebration of the Inti Raymi. Traditional dances and artists will participate in a cultural show, where there will also be shaizas.

The inti Raymi is commemorated in several provinces of Ecuador where there is a joint knowledge but various acts are held to commemorate the Sun God and the Pachamama, among the main provinces can be known:

Inti Raymi in Cañar

In the province of Cañar, this celebration takes on special significance since the chosen scenario for the ritual is the Zhinzhuna hill, in the Ingapirca parish, where the archaeological ruins of Ingapirca are located. The perfect setting for the Inti Raymi is Ingapirca, The Inti Raymi Ingapirca is a beautiful celebration has a lot of enhancement. With the establishment of the Spanish colony, the festival was camouflaged in Catholic celebrations such as Corpus Christi or San Juan, which produced a syncretism between the two traditions.

Inti Raymi in Pichincha
In Cayambe

In this canton the festivities in honor of the sun combine with the mixed and religious tradition in honor of St. Peter. The festival contains traditional activities of the Kayambi people such as the Taking of the Square, Comparsas Parades with warmis and dancers, recitation of coplas and choice of the Ustas.

• June 21: Ceremony in Honor of the Sun.
• June 29: Symbolic Take of the Plaza and the Sacred Site of Puntiatzil.


Inti Raymi in Otavalo

This festival has a very important meaning for the Andean world, as well as religious celebrations for the Western world. It is considered the largest festival in the Andes, which has a prominent role in the culture of indigenous peoples. This is largely due to the fact that it is time for the ripening of the fruit of the Pachamama, so there is a massive participation of the community in the crops they have seen throughout the region.

Armay Chishi – Ritual Bath

This ritual takes place on June 22, the day of the summer sunset. Waterfalls, rivers and springs have special places where energy is concentrated during the year and the ritual bath tries to register them to load new forces, eliminate the negative energies accumulated during the year, and thus begin with Celebration of Inti Raymi.
The bathroom has a clear sense of cleanliness and is associated with the rural concepts of the party.

The Songs and Dances

For the night, every day of the party, the atmosphere is filled with music and streets, and the chaquiñanes can see companies with which you can see pingullos, flutes and harmonics, and most groups have instruments such as guitar and violins. Very few teams include aroundr and, on the other hand, you can see some modern influence with the use of the melodic.

The Roosters Branch

This is one of the most interesting traditions of the Inti Raymi ceremony. Its origins take us to the era of the colony, where the uyanza or the celebration of joy after the harvest took place on the farms. Over time, this tradition has been lost and, remembering it, this ritual was repeated with a change in its shape: the turtle industry.

Undoubtedly an important festival for the Andean peoples that commemorates a feast for the crops and that must be maintained so as not to lose the roots of us linking us with the ancestors. Same you’ll be able to meet and even become part of our Otavalo tour.


Marín, I. (14 de mayo de 2018). Cultura científica. Obtenido de UTPL:
Comercio, E. (19 de junio de 2017). Así se celebra el Inti Raymi en las provincias de la Sierra . El Comercio – Actualidad.