Academy College Inti Raymi Ceremony Speech Outline

Academy College Inti Raymi Ceremony Speech Outline.


Topic: Inti Raymi

Thesis statement:

It’s a big celebration where you able to know other culture and taste different kinds of food.

3 main point:

  • celebration.
  • Culture
  • Food

Inti Raymi: the festival of the sun shines again

Hagman, Harvey. “Inti Raymi: the festival of the sun shines again.” World and I, vol. 30, no. 3, Mar. 2015. Gale General OneFile, Accessed 7 Mar. 2020.

Darkness fell on the Inca Festival of the Sun when the conquistadors stamped it out centuries ago. But the “Inti Raymi,” which celebrates the winter solstice or solar New Year, would not die.

Today conch shells and qhepas, ancient 4-foot trumpets, again sound their mournful cries amid silent, snow-capped peaks. What was once the most important Inca festival is now a vast panorama of theatrical color; much of its visual power remains.

Cuzco is the Katmandu of South America, where travelers flock to experience an earlier age. It is the archaeological capital of the Americas, the oldest continually inhabited city on the continent and the ancient Inca capital. (Go to

In the era of the Inca, nobility, priests and civil servants from throughout the Tawantinsuyo Empire flocked to Cuzco for the winter solstice festival. Ancient Peruvians studied the heavens and aligned their temples toward the stars and planets; they linked their calendar and festivals to the heavens to venerate the gods. The present reconstruction is partly based on the writings of Garcilasco de la Vega, called “El Inca,” a 16th century poet born of a conquistador and an Inca priestess.

Early Spanish historians state preparations for Inti Raymi included a three-day fast; all were forbidden sexual relations or to light fires. Incas considered themselves children of the sun and worshipped it as a giver of life.

As winter deepened, the sun journeyed farther north and shadows lengthened. Inca priests observed this phenomenon, warning the people that the sun’s departure was imminent.

But annually on June 22, the priests ritually tied the sun to a temple pillar in a solemn ceremony, stopping its flight. Thus, shadows shortened as the joyous peasantry celebrated the return of Father Sun, bringing hopes of an abundant harvest.

Historian Louis Baudin writes: “On the date set by the astronomers, the supreme Emperor made his way to the central square before dawn. He found assembled there the members of the imperial ayllu (clan). In an adjoining square the curaca (bureaucrats) were assembled. All took off their sandals in utmost silence and turned toward the east, immobile, observing the horizon.

“At the moment when the streaks of dawn appeared to touch the summits of the cordillera (mountains) with gold, they crouched down, extended their arms in supplication, and embraced the first rays.

“Then the Inca took a chalice filled with a sacred potion in each hand and, facing the rising sun, raised his arms above his head and offered the drink to his Father Sun.”

The Inca then poured part of the potion into a duct running to the Temple of the Sun, swallowed a mouthful, drizzled the rest into chalices of his entourage and told all to drink. The imperial clan entered the temple as the nobility gathered outside its opened doors.

“The supreme Emperor offered the Sun the two chalices he had used,” Baudin continues, “and the onlookers presented theirs. Priests advanced toward the threshold of the edifice to receive the vessels from the nobility” and take their presents. “The sacrifices began by putting to death a black llama, considered to be more sacred than any other.”

Often 50,000 gathered for solstice festivities as peasants were allowed to enter Cuzco’s confines only to celebrate religious festivals. Then the Inca spread a huge banquet with meat and apple-sized corn loaves. (Incas ate bread only during festivals.) Chicha, a fermented corn brew, flowed while others drank mate, a drink of coca leaves. During the nine-day festival, sleep was discouraged.

In 1572 Viceroy Toledo halted the festival, deeming it pagan. Centuries passed, then in 1944 a group of Cuzco artists and intellectuals led by Faustino Espinoza brought the festival back to life.

Espinoza scoured the royal archives of de la Vega and found fragments from a 1612 manuscript describing the festival and created the first play based on these accounts.

“I wrote the script for 600 actors and had the privilege of playing the first Inca, a role I assumed with great pride for 14 consecutive years,” he said.

Today the Inti Raymi is celebrated on June 24, the Day of Cuzco and the Day of the Indian in Peru. It has been presented every year except 1950 and 1970 when earthquakes struck and martial law was declared.

The festival has evolved. Costumes have been changed and the drama rewritten as historical research advances. But Inca times live in the hearts of Cuzquenos.

Festivities begin at 10 a.m. in front of the Dominican monastery of Santa Domingo, built on the ruins of the Incas’ most famous temple, the Cori-Concha or “Golden Enclosure.” Those who saw the Temple of the Sun, as the Spaniards called it, before it was vandalized of 700 solid gold sheets and hoards of silver and gold objects, report the main temple was dedicated to the god Viracocha, with side chapels dedicated to the moon, Venus, a mysterious star, and the god of Thunder and Lightning.

After an earthquake in 1650, the Spanish dismantled the battered temple, recycled its stones and built their monastery on its foundations. In 1950, an earthquake destroyed many Spanish walls, revealing sturdy Inca stonework for the first time in centuries. Facing a new cultural climate, the monastery agreed not to rebuild over the ancient walls and permitted the excavation of four Inca chambers in the monastery’s courtyard.

On this festive morning, Cuzquenos dress in vibrant Inca costumes in Santo Domingo’s courtyard, while crowds gather outside. As conchs and qhepas sound and drums roll, the magnificently clad Inca appears, standing on the Cori-Concha’s huge black stones, the finest example of Inca masonry. The stones are so superbly carved that they fit without mortar.

Starting from this magnificent ancient Sun Temple, the procession winds through the streets filled with dancing, music, and prayers.

Joining the Inca leader are his female counterparts, Mama Occlo, priests and others dressed as snakes, pumas and condors. The imperial Inca army enters the hilltop square at a trot as brilliantly costumed princesses and flower strewers sweep the Inca’s path. The royal entourage follows. Then the Willka Intiman, or high priest, offers the hymn to Father Sun:

“My sun! My father!

“With great joy

“We salute you,

“Basking in your great light

“My sun! My father!”

The Inca, Son of the Sun, salutes the sun, conchs sound, drums beat and the company marches slowly to the central Plaza de Armas, much smaller than it stretched in Inca times. Here, the Inca descends from his litter, goes to the massive altar and orders the mayor to work for his people’s prosperity.

Dancing ensues as the procession leaves for its serpentine 1 1/2-mile procession up to Sacsahuaman, a promontory whose name means “Falcon’s Crest.” Here, unknown masons shaped heavy boulders–one stands 27 feet and weighs more than 300 tons–into mammoth cyclopean walls without the use of mortar. Its building remains shrouded in mystery. Scholars date the “fortress” to a megalithic age; later, the Incas would recall their failure to move even one of these huge stones.

Climbing to the promontory, buses pass holiday crowds of more than 100,000 Indians covering the hills. Families cook yellow potatoes and guinea pigs over glowing coals. Curls of smoke rise heavenward as vendors hawk the Inca specialty, guinea pig, and their potent corn-brewed chicha.

In a green plaza below the black stone ruins, the city has erected a square of bleachers. Those who paid for tickets fill the bleachers; helmeted police control access as colorfully dressed participants line up. A holiday spirit reigns while the “Apus,” sacred Andean peaks, loom majestically on the horizon. The pageant is conducted in Quechua, the language of the Incas.

Amid pomp and splendor, the Inca descends from his litter, a replica of the magnificent throne that once weighed 360 pounds, lifts his arms to the sun and intones: “Powerful sun of eternal happiness, warm source, beginning of life, almighty father of all that is created.”

The main event ensues as warriors assemble and the Antisuyo (jungle) contingent salutes the sun with songs, dances and offerings such as corn and potatoes. Participants play conch shells, blow traditional trumpets and beat drums as an eerie hymn to the sun. Then the sacred fermented chicha is drunk, the ritual fires are set, dancers perform and a llama is ritually sacrificed to the sun. Today, no llama is ceremoniously killed. Audiences are spared the bloodshed with a deft sleight of hand.

The heart, lungs and trachea are ritually cut out and white corn is blessed with the llama’s blood. Sacred food is tasted.

Hour after hour the rich ceremonies unfold to an ancient cadence. Rituals long dead live again as Cuzquenos proudly celebrate the culture of their ancestors until the Inca gives the final message:

“Oh Father, Supreme Creator, Oh, Lord Sun! Oh, God of Lightning! Oh, God of the Feline Star! Oh, Mother Moon! Oh, Mother Earth! Long live the people of the four regions! Let us celebrate our father, the sun.”

As Father Sun gives way to Mother Moon, the people of Cuzco and hordes of assorted American and European visitors head for clubs and bars to celebrate far into the night.

Under a full moon at 11,000 feet visitors will remember the richly dyed feather and alpaca costumes, the tonalities of the reed instruments and the haunting choreography developed centuries ago. The faces of Cuzco are unchanged and go back ages before the conquest, the long, narrow noses, bladelike cheekbones and obsidian eyes of this noble race. These same faces provided entertainment on the streets and student groups performed folk dances as firemen, teachers and other local groups march with bands during the festival..

Ironically, the Inti Raymi is celebrated on ground where the Incas made their last bloody stand against the Spaniards. The battle’s winners are long forgotten, but for a day the Inca Empire lives again.

Harvey Hagman is a regular contributor to The World & I Online. He is a freelance photojournalist, travel writer, and international correspondent.

Peru’s Inca Festival.

Waters, Irene. “Peru’s Inca Festival.” Contemporary Review, vol. 267, no. 1559, 1995, p. 322.

ON June 24th, 1995 I stepped more than 400 years back in time. ‘The scene was the Peruvian city of Cuzco, once capital of the Inca Empire which extended 2,500 miles along the Andes. The occasion was Inti Raymi, a festival to mark the winter solstice in South America. This is a spectacular piece of theatre rooted in Inca ritual. Over 600 performers take part: actors, musicians and dancers from all walks of life. The Inca’s bodyguard are the cream of the Peruvian army; the Chosen Women are local schoolgirls. All have competed at audition simply for the honour of taking part- none are paid. After a month’s intensive rehearsals and the gruelling day-long performance all they receive are their costume, just over £6 for bus fares and- most highly prized of all-a certificate signed by the city’s mayor.

The Incas had no written language so there is no definitive record of Inti Raymi, only Spanish-oriented descriptions. As the conquistadors suppressed Inca religion and outlawed their festivals, they were largely forgotten until the twentieth century. In 1944 a group of intellectuals, led by the philosopher, Umberto Vidal Unda, decided to re-construct Inti Raymi as a theatrical presentation. After fifty years of research and development they felt confident enough to publish an official script.

The ceremony is divided into three parts. Each is held in a different part of the city and each location has a special significance in Inca religion and history. The day begins at 10 a.m. outside the Koricancha, or Court of Gold and Sun Temple. As an agricultural people the Incas understood how the sun’s altitude determined the seasons and crop cycle; the sun thus became their supreme deity. The Koricancha’s original stonework has survived the centuries, even withstanding earthquakes which shattered colonial buildings, including the Spanish church constructed on the Inca base.

Musicians, imperial soldiers, Chosen Women, flower-strewers and sweepers of the Inca’s path assemble round the apse. Propped against the rear wall, where it catches and reflects the early morning rays, stands a replica (the Spanish melted down the original) of the huge gold disc representing the sun. A hush falls and out strides the majestic figure of the Inca (emperor) accompanied by his empress. Taking centre stage and facing the sun’s position in the sky, he raises his champi (lance-like symbol of office) and begins to chant. The royal entourage join in, the nobility and so on down the ranks until the entire company are lifting up their voices in the Hymn to the Sun:

My Sun! My Father!

With great joy

We salute you,

Basking in your great light. . .

Following this brief, but very moving part of the ceremony the company forms a procession, the Inca and empress on litters, to move through the streets to the main square, the Plaza de Annas. Though expert opinion differs about the square’s Inca name, all agree that it was formerly much larger and, as the exact centre of the Empire, the place where the most important religious and military ceremonies were held. A representation of the sacred stone, topped by the Sun Disc, has been constructed in the centre of the square for today’s ceremony. Here the coca rite takes place. The Inca, high priest and master diviner chew the coca leaves prepared by the latter. The omens are good. The people dance around the sacred stone.

The supreme military commander is sent to fetch the mayor of Cuzco. In a speech clearly indicating the close links between myth, religious philosophy and civic life, the Inca reminds the mayor of his responsibilities:

Govern with kindness, with honour, with truth and with justice. . . And so that you will not forget, I leave in your hands this sacred khipu (the knotted strings, the Inca method of record keeping), legacy of our fathers. It holds the three powers which are the life of our people, and whose history is lost in the beginnings of time: Love! Work! Know! May these be the light that illuminates your good government and the destiny of our race. . .

After the mayor has undertaken to protect the Inca heritage, to watch over the people of Cuzco and work for their happiness, the procession forms up again for the half-hour walk to the fortress of Sacsayhuaman above the city.

This is the site of the day’s main ceremony. It is also the site of a decisive battle in the 1536 Inca rebellion, the Incas’ last stand. From here they besieged Cuzco for ten months and succeeded in re-capturing much of their city. Ultimately, however, their simple weapons were no match for Spanish horsemen. Sacsayhuaman thus occupies a particularly emotive place in Inca hearts and minds. The remains of the fortress walls provides a natural amphitheatre, crowded today by an estimated 30,000, mainly local people. In the centre is a specially-constructed stone platform surrounded by five-tiered seating- for those willing to pay.

The company assembles on the grassy area around the platform. Only the Inca, having had his sandals removed, ascends the stage. He walks round, silently inspecting his people, and then stands still, gazing at the horizon. Tension mounts as the Song of Inti Raymi begins:

This day is the great celebration

We must all rejoice.

Our hearts come alive with joy,

Inspired by a pure air.

Oh my Sun ! Oh my Sun !

Shine on us now, Oh my Sun!

Oh my Sun ! Oh my Sun !

Send us now your warmth

And let the chill disappear. . .

Amazingly, right on cue, the sun broke through the clouds which had hidden it all day. There was an explosion of sound from the musicians, the second verse of the hymn rang out in a paean of praise and joy. The Inca spoke:

Oh Creator who reigns incomparably in the confines of the earth. . . Oh Lord Sun watch over us! Let us live safe and sound, free from danger and at peace, give us perpetual happiness and life! Hold us in your hand and accept our offering. Oh Lord Sun, to whom today on your day we extend our eternal gratitude for the life-giving light and warmth you continue to give us . . .

Representatives of each of the four corners of the Empire bring offerings and reports. The civic aspects of Inti Raymi promoted unity: the Inca was seen to be in control of his vast empire. The chicha rite (drinking maize alcohol) is enacted, the ceremonial fire is lit by holding up a concave mirror to the sun, a llama is sacrificed and its entrails read. The auguries are good. Blood and flesh are ritually consumed by the Inca and priests. The company dances in praise and thanks to the Lord Sun. The ceremony over, the Inca, royalty and nobility process round the arena and exit. But the dancing, feasting and drinking continue throughout the night in the Plaza de Armas and surrounding streets.

Inti Raymi is a masterpiece of organisation and choreography. Six hundred performers knew exactly what to do, where and when, and are moved round the city through a throng of thousands of spectators. This was all done reverently and, apparently, without a hitch. Yet so slick has the organisation become, that the show was produced in little over a month. How do they do it? The city council set up a company, Empresa Municipal de Festejos Actividades Recreacionales y Turisticas del Qosqo (EMUFEQ), to manage Inti Raymi. The director, Senor Carlos Milla Vidal, has about fifteen employees: a field co-ordinator, an administrative co-ordinator, an accountant plus back-up and secretarial staff. The EMUFEQ board of directors appoints an artistic director who auditions performers and produces the show. After fifty years of practice, a routine has become established.

But Inti Raymi is not solely the ceremonial day of June 24th. In 1995 there were over 200 other events taking place between 2 May and 25 July. These included exhibitions, concerts, dance and drama productions, conferences, lectures and festivals of all kinds. During the week preceding 24 June, there are street parades almost every day. One morning, thousands of children paraded round the Plaza de Armas, dancing with a peculiar step best described as the Inca Trot; many looked barely five years old, bewildered and over-awed by the occasion, and all were dressed in an assortment of traditional costumes.

Although some of these activities are promoted by EMUFEQ most are contributed by other organisations. For instance, the National Institute of Culture mounted an exhibition of paintings by contemporary provincial artists; the local brewery organised a beer festival; dance schools and community organisations sent teams of children, adults and decorated floats to take part in the parades. This generates a great deal of activity throughout the year, and municipal and commercial works are geared towards Inti Raymi too. The festival is thus the focal point for the city’s corporate life, an incentive to work as well as a time of entertainment.

Despite this, the town council spends not one penny on Inti Raymi. With an annual budget of just over £5,000,000 for 100,000 people it cannot afford to pay for a major festival — according to economic statistics (which ignore the estimated 40 per cent of the economy which is nonmonetary, i.e. Inca-like exchange), Cuzco is the poorest city in Peru. So it set up EMUFEQ: a private company which could make money from admission charges, fund-raising activities and sponsorship.

The principal sponsors in 1995 were the local brewery and Coca Cola, the official festival beverages. Several smaller companies sponsor individual exhibitions, performances and other activities. This sponsorship takes many forms. In addition to providing money, there is mutual benefit from publicity: for instance, the brewery was allowed to use the Inti Raymi logo in their advertising, so the festival was promoted in innumerable outlets, including a £300,000 television advert, at no cost to EMUFEQ. A poster, whose production costs were paid by a local firm in return for permission to advertise its product on it, was inserted in every brochure sent out by the Tourist Board–which also paid for the postage.

EMUFEQ’s 1994 budget was £35,000, of which about £5.000 was spent on the central day. Here too, though, there are hidden elements: organisations taking part in parades receive no grant, yet they may spend £1,200, even £2,500, on decorating a float and £20-30 on each costume. As some 45,000 people took part on one day alone, this represents a considerable amount of community money and effort which does not appear in official accounts.

Conscious of their mission to keep alive Inca philosophy and tradition in a modern world, EMUFEQ produces 5,000 copies of a programme, available free of charge. This booklet co-ordinates the entire series of events and contains a substantial section of text, taking a different theme each year: in 1995 it focussed on the Koricancha, its significance and the restoration work being done. EMUFEQ attaches great importance to this text as a means of explaining the ideology of the festival and raising the consciousness of the people to an awareness of, and pride in, their identity and history.

Cuzco was a melting point of cultures, where the wealthiest civilisations of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries merged. Known to the Incas as ‘the navel of the world’, it was a place of pilgrimage and Inti Raymi was their most important festival. Its re-construction is more than entertainment. I feel privileged to have made what was to me a pilgrimage.

Academy College Inti Raymi Ceremony Speech Outline


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