Visitors from across South America and around the world travel to Cusco in Peru for the annual Inti Raymi festival, the most important ceremony of the Inca Empire calendar. Each winter solstice, native residents honor the Sun God marking the beginning of a new year: the Festival of the Sun.
The 24th of June is the most important day of the festival, when a theatrical representation of the Inca ceremony takes place: the Sapa Inca, the Incan emperor, dressed with silver and gold ornaments, calls on blessings from the god Inti, the ancient Incan sun god. The modern day re-enactment of Inti Raymi still retains all of its majestic glory drawing crowds of international visitors and locals alike.
Processions and ceremonial acts take place with music, prayers and dancing. A white llama is sacrificed to ensure the fertility of the earth and good crops. Once again, a new year has begun.
With daytime exhibitions and top Peruvian musical groups playing in the Plaza de Armas, the Inti Raymi celebrations are a must-see and it is the second largest festival in South America.