Inti Raymi is a festival to thank the Sun and Mother Earth.

Inti Raymi is a festival to thank the Sun and Mother Earth. Every year, the Kichwa people from Ecuador celebrate Inti Raymi (Feast of the Sun). The popular Andean custom.

traditions of ecuador_inti

Today we want to tell you some details of this festivity, we are sure that in 365 days we will gather to thank the Sun and Pachamama for the food on our tables. The season shows us the cycle change with the beginning of the harvests. The main day of the celebration is June 21st., when the sun is closest to the earth causing the shortest day and the longest night. Music, dance, and ritual acts fill the ceremonial places, located along the inter-Andean alley, it is believed that in these places the energy of gods and nature join together to charge the energies of those who join this celebration. Traditionally on these dates, several communities of the Andes gathered and prepared various activities and rituals to honor Taita Inti, an example is Cotacachi where the spiritual and symbolic ritual of the taking of the square, summoning dancers and musicians, who spun in circles with strength and courage to keep the mother earth awake, and that it receives the offerings of human beings. Another important activity on this date is the purification and energy renewal bath, led by shamans. Inti Raymi also includes the traditional pampamesa, an ancestral ritual where typical Andean foods are shared, such as corn, potatoes, melloco, beans, and others, combined with different kinds of meat, especially guinea pig. The meal reflects the community´s brotherhood,  as the food is placed on a tablecloth on the floor; everyone eats and enjoys this moment and of course the “chicha”, a traditional indigenous beverage. Diablo Huma, represents the connection with the cosmos, in the festival of the Sun.

The festival has a main reason, the Aya Uma (Devil’s Head) or Diablo Huma, which has an important spiritual meaning for the indigenous communities that congregate in sacred places to thank the Pachamama for the harvests. The cosmic order arrives at the festival on this special date and helps them to send away other demons that roam among the crops. The Inti Raymi also represents the syncretism of Andean and western culture, and the Aya Uma is an example of this. The name of the devil was assigned in the process of the Spanish conquest to show fear in the indigenous culture, for celebrating festivities in honor of nature’s gods of nature such as the Sun, the Moon, and the Pachamama. Over time his name was transmitted throughout the centuries as Diablo Huma, however, its meaning transcends, it comes from the Spanish religion because its function on the day of maximum celebration (June 22) is to gather good energy and connection between the cosmos and earthly life. This is part of the purification and renovation of baths under the waterfalls of the Andean region, to gain the spiritual power of nature, necessary to fight against the proterious energies. In the festival, the Devil Huma dances on three occasions to connect with the Earth, Sun, and Moon. The man who represents him becomes a spiritual being who breaks the myth to transcend reality and embodies the energies of the deities. His outfit consists of a colorful mask and two faces. It shows the duality of the cosmos (good and evil, sun and moon, good and evil, day and night, future and present, north and south). Also, his hair symbolizes wisdom and cornflower. Also on his mask are four kinds of ears that refer to the four directions and the four elements of nature: air, water, fire, and earth, according to several historical documents. Also, his attire consists of a whip, a symbol of power and authority. His legs are covered with a zamarro (a garment made of different animal skins) to guide those who participate in the Inti Raymi festival. In some indigenous communities, the Diablo Huma plays a wind instrument while dancing to the rhythm of drums, guitars, and songs of indigenous women. Credits: Ministero de turismo Ecuador

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