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June 21st (Winter Solstice)

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Orange Park, Florida
posts: 57
reviews: 15
June 21st (Winter Solstice)

As I am doing my research for our June trip to Cusco I am seeing that this date is important to the locals. Will this make booking a room impossible? Which place would you recommend, the Cusco Stuff, the Ollantaytambo Stuff or be at Machu Picchu for Sunrise? Recommendations please!

Lima, Peru
Destination Expert
for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
posts: 16,133
reviews: 306
1. Re: June 21st (Winter Solstice)

Its super high season during the dates you plan to visit, sobook in advance.

The Inti Raymi festival in Cusco is one of the biggest hapennings.

I watched the sunrise over the Ollantaytambo site and it was marvelous.

Edited: 6:27 am, February 27, 2013
Orange Park, Florida
posts: 57
reviews: 15
2. Re: June 21st (Winter Solstice)

Mr (?) xochiti, thank you.

Upon further research it appears the Inti Raymi Festival is celebrated on Monday June 24th. Therefore we could still be at Machu Picchu for The Solstice Sunrise on June 21st?!?!?

Is there a Catholic Celebration at the The Plaza de Armas in Cusco on the same day as the Sacsayhuaman Inca Festival? I don't understand this part.

Do they actually sacrifice a beast of some kind at the Sacsayhuaman shindig? This might preclude My Sweet Baboo from attending LOL.

Chelmsford, United...
posts: 163
3. Re: June 21st (Winter Solstice)

Hi CaptSteve - I think they pretend sacrifice (at least I hope they do). There is definitely a llama/alpaca and a lot of blood - I'm just hoping it's staged.

The Catholic religion and Inca religion are a bit mixed up nowadays - I don't think there is any particular Catholic element on the 24th but beforehand the Saints get to go for a walk about the city during Corpus Christi (this is a replacement for taking the Inca mummies out on display).

Orange Park, Florida
posts: 57
reviews: 15
4. Re: June 21st (Winter Solstice)

Thank you, Inglorious. Do all these celebrations occur on the same day?

Are they timed to where you can see them all?

Apparently you have been there. If you can only time it to see one, in your opinion which one would it be?

Orange Park, Florida
posts: 57
reviews: 15
5. Re: June 21st (Winter Solstice)

Ooops My Bad. I have finally found that Corpus Christi in on May 30th. At least this is all coming together. Thank you EVERYONE!

Evansville, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Peru
posts: 3,103
reviews: 14
6. Re: June 21st (Winter Solstice)

Something I found about Machu Picchu and winter solstice:

…nasa.gov/SED11/P6MachuPichu.pdf

I remember that when I was in Ollantaytambo, they mentioned a temple located at a closeby mountain that received the winter solstice light at sunrise.

It's all about Sun and Moon in the Inca culture.

posts: 121
reviews: 75
7. Re: June 21st (Winter Solstice)

you can see the winter solstice at Machu Picchu from Jun 21st to Jun 24th.

the llama sacrifice at Sacsayhuaman during Inti Raymi is definitely staged.

in the post-conquest history of Cusco, Corpus Christi and Inti Raymi are related but they are separate festivals. the first is a Catholic feast with moveable dates according to the liturgical calendar. the second is a "resurrection" of the Inca's winter harvest festival and is always celebrated on Jun 24th. the history of these festivals is quite fascinating - "Inka Bodies" by Carolyn Dean is a very good, tho very academic, book on the subject.

there is a special mass celebrated in Quechua in the Cusco cathedral on the morning of Inti Raymi.

Orange Park, Florida
posts: 57
reviews: 15
8. Re: June 21st (Winter Solstice)

MayFlower thank you and you must be a teacher like My Sweet Baboo LOL I'll take a picture of the Temple of the Sun at the Solstice just for you. Although one of my Chums has warned me that they brew a special 20% Pilsner just for the occasion that might make me oversleep!

Orange Park, Florida
posts: 57
reviews: 15
9. Re: June 21st (Winter Solstice)

Thank you andaryroder! I shall research "Inka Bodies". This is a most excellent travel site!

10. Re: June 21st (Winter Solstice)

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