How has an Incan tradition, the Inti Raymi, and other religious acts evolved to the present time and why are they still relevant today? Carla Gallegos, Andrea Fernandez, Maria Paz Merino, Paola Villacres, Valentina Zanelli

This project is based on the information gathered on a field trip Colegio Menor students did to Cusco in the month of February of 2017. The objective of the trip was to learn about Inca traditions and culture. The information presented in this research paper highlights the importance of how people have maintained traditions and culture alive and relevant from Inca time to present time. Information for this project was obtained from different reliable online sources and primary resources. The research was conducted by doing interviews to locals, guides, and museum curators in Peru and selecting information from reliable sources prior to the field trip. With this project, it became clear that Inca traditions prevailed through time because of different factors, such as tourism and keeping their roots alive. By researching about the Inti Raymi, it was understood why it was and is the most important celebration in Peruvian culture.

Peru's flag in Plaza de Armas (Photo credit: Paola Villacres)

Research Question: How has an Inca tradition, the Inti Raymi, and other religious acts evolved to the present time and why are they still relevant today?

Throughout time, traditions have prevailed, and Peru, along with other Andean countries, is an example of this. Our research question is specific because it focuses mainly on traditions and religious acts of the Inca people and their descendants in modern day Peru. Many of the various customs survived thanks to the fusion between the Inca and Spanish cultures when the colonizers arrived to Peru. This merging of cultures made Peruvian habits evolve through time. By analyzing these topics, we can understand how people lived in the past and visualize the culture of native people in present time; we can also increase our overall understanding of the Inca culture. Due to the two parts in the question, how have these acts evolved through time and why they are relevant today, the answer will be deeply analyzed using evidence from online sources obtained prior to the trip and primary sources from Peru. This helps us develop our question more and extract various ideas of the Inca traditions and religious acts.

Hypothesis: Peruvian culture has been kept alive by Incan and Spanish traditions that have been fused over time and are still used in present times.

Plaza de Armas (Photo credit: Paola Villacres)

Our hypothesis answers our research question because it has a fully developed answer to the components of our question. Inca traditions are still relevant today because the people from Cuzco try to keep their culture alive. They hope to reconnect with their Incan roots by keeping their traditions alive, simultaneously mixing in some Spanish customs, thus creating a mixed Hispano-Incan culture. Our hypothesis can easily be proven by research from the multiple sites in Peru and by asking the citizens of Peru about their traditions and customs. The tradition we focus mainly in the paper is the Inti Raymi, a celebration dedicated to the sun god, Inti, which is still an important tradition now.

Research Methods: Trustful online pages and primary resources seen during the field trip enable a deep analysis of past and present Incan traditions.

For the research of this project, our group used online sources prior to the trip and then obtained first hand information during the trip. We used trustful online sources, such as the travel website for Peru, which are official websites that share material about Inca traditions and tours in different places in the country. The Penn State University and the Ohio State University websites are other trustworthy sources we used in this paper to talk about the Inti Raymi and the llama sacrifices used in this celebration. Our first hand information came from our guides during the trip, data from the museums, and from museum curators. Our research question is fully answered by a conjunction of strategically conducted research and the knowledge obtained during the trip itself. The members of our group that went to the field trip asked relevant questions during the trip, such as what are the main religious events for the local people or how do they think the traditions have changed, to each of the guides. In the museums in Peru, we saw some pictures of the Inti Raymi that make us have a clear idea of how the events are performed and help us analyze our question more thoroughly. The information recovered both during the trip and online, offer an extensive view of Inca customs and traditions and why people still celebrate them now.

Conclusion: Peruvian culture and tradition are still celebrated by the Incas now a days with an example.

Inti Raymi in Sacsayhuaman (Picture credit: Caytlin Motta)

Our hypothesis was proven by talking about one of the Inca traditions that live on until today, Inti Raymi. As claimed by an official travel operator of Peru, Adventure Around Every Corner, “Inti Raymi is the most important part of the Inca culture” (Apu Andino, 2008). This is the reason why the celebration has survived until this day. The Inti Raymi is a celebration to the Sun god, Inti. During this celebration, the Sapa Inca, or the emperor of the Incas, was carried up to Sacsayhuaman on a platform where he could be seen by everyone.

Sacsayhuaman (Photo credit: Paola Villacres)

The celebration joined the four regions or Suyos of the Inca Empire or Tahuantinsuyo, each of whom had unique clothing to be able to differentiate them. The celebration would last for a whole day in the month of June, celebrating the winter solstice which is the shortest day of the year, and the Inca New Year. People would bring aríbalos, giant vases, filled with chicha to offer to the gods. The event would begin by sacrificing a black llama while the Sapa Inca talked to his people in Quechua. Then, the people would perform rituals, dances, and have fun to honor the sun god. To this day, the Inti Raymi is still celebrated in honor of the sun god although the celebration is a little different than in Inca time. The people of Peru walk from La Plaza de Armas carrying an Inca descendant by the name of Nivardo Carrillo up to Sacsayhuaman representing the Sapa Inca. Once up there, the people from different regions of Peru are waiting at the top and the celebration begins. It starts with Carrillo giving a speech to the people gathered around in Quechua while a black llama is sedated to represent the sacrifice, as sacrifices are not performed today anymore. Travel Peru states, “Currently close to 750 actors participate, who portray their ancestors with the same fervor as the previous century” (Peru Travel, n.d.). The people take pride in acting and being a part of this very important celebration in Peruvian culture. By doing this, the Inti Raymi remains in present people’s traditions and can be annually celebrated. As our guide told us, tourists nowadays reserve their seats to watch this astonishing celebration even a year prior to the celebration. In present time, the parade lasts for only four hours but is still celebrated with joy and excitement from its people. In conclusion, the celebration remains as important these days as it was a thousand years ago, with minimal variations and the same happiness and gratefulness from its inhabitants.


Agencias de Viajes, (2017, February 24). Cusco - Cuzco. Aguas Calientes. Retrieved from:

Agencias de Viajes, (2017, February 24). Cusco - Cuzco. Museo De Arte Contemporáneo De La Municipalidad Del Cusco. Retrieved from:

Inti Raymi. (n.d.). Retrieved from Cultures and Customs, Penn State website:

Inti Raymi. (n.d.). Retrieved from Peru website:

Lowdown on Inca’s Customs and Traditions. (n.d.). Retrieved from Apu Andino website:

Peru of Living Cultures, Payments offered to the Earth. (n.d.). Retrieved from Peru website:

RPP Noticias, (2015, May 25) RPP Noticias. Nivardo Carrillo, el inca del Inti Raymi ofrece concierto y presenta DVD. Retrieved from:

The Ohio State University, (n.d.). The Ohio State University. Llama Sacrifices. Retrieved from:

Motta, C. (2015, February 3). Into Raymi [Digital image]. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from

Villacres, P. (2017). [Camera Photograph]. Self-published.

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