The Inti Raymi celebrations go on for a couple of weeks and include near daily parade. Yesterday was one of my favorites that I haven’t seen in 10 years and includes incredibly detailed floats on a variety of topics ranging from humorous to cultural to current events.
Getting a spot to view the parade and get photos requires arriving long before the parades begin and waiting patiently. Fortunately it’s possible to view the different float after the parade concludes when they are left on display in front of the Basilica Menor de la Merced.
Huge crowds of people come out in the evening to view all the floats and take family photos in front of them. It’s a wonderful experience to hang out with Peruvians enjoying the various displays up close.
Inti Raymi time is upon us here in Cusco and about three weeks of celebrations have begun highlighted by dozens of groups performing traditional dances in the Plaza each day with enthusiasm and pride that simply has to be witnessed.
Yesterday was dominated by youth groups of very young kids and this afternoon high school groups filled the streets performing three different times as they made their way around the Plaza filled with cheering family and supporters and proud Peruvians.
I’m no expert on traditional dances, but I know that most (if not all) tell a story or act out some part of traditional culture. Some of the stories are obvious to anyone, but others have more complex meanings that I have yet to learn.
It’s extremely difficult to get a good spot to watch the performances as people line the streets 2-3 deep even on the extreme edges. If you want to watch in the main performance area in front of the Cathedral, you’d better get there very early to stake out a good spot amongst the thousands of onlookers.
Each group is different and performs unique dances in spectacular traditional costumes. This is an event that should not be missed.