Peru’s Inca History Rich with Experiential Education: At least from what we see at current Inti Raymi Festival
Every year on June 24 Cusco celebrates the festival of Inti Raymi at the Inca Fortress of Sacsayhuaman.
This festival was celebrated by the Incas as the Festival of the Sun in honor of the God of the Sun: Wiracocha. The Inti Raymi symbolizes the eternal consecration of marriage between the Sun and human beings. The festival is
now the second largest festival in Latin America with an expected 200,000 people visiting Cusco.
But from an educator’s eye, there is more going on than just a festival. Groups of students from all over Peru but especially from the Quechua speaking, and Inca origins, come to participate in experiential tests of courage and craftsmanship. It is a wonderful and proud event in which to participate,
where young from come to throw, climb and balance, all the while, with elders looking on. The sense of pride and community at the Inti Raymi is palpable.
When I first attended some 12 years ago, it had not been so big. So be it. The
festival is popular and deservedly so, not only for the sense of history of the Inca, and Quechua heritage, but to see teens competing, representing their communities, here at this historical place, Sacsayhuaman.
Images: R. Richards, Mountain Spirit Institute
Mountain Spirit Institute has been running programs in Peru since the late 1990’s that focus on experientially learning and giving back to the people of the Andean villages we encounter. We pride ourselves in staying off the beaten path. See our website at www.mtnspirit.org for more information. MSI is a non-profit educational organization.