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The Inca Ceremonial and agriculture calendar

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The Inca Ceremonial and agriculture calendar

Societies, in all the stages of their development, have always tried to order time according to their cosmo vision (welfenchaung) of their necessities, opportunities and genius. So the inca culture created its own calendar, which must have collected the experience from previous times.


About it, the chronists polo de ondegardo, Guaman Poma de Ayala and Cristobal de Molina el Cusqueño, say that, with some differences, there is a coincidence between the calendar of agricultural activities and the Raymis or feasts organized according to the ceremonial calendar. We know the difficulty in matching both events, however, we will try to explain the close relationship between both. In September, when the seeding of the corn crops starts, the festivity of Qoya Raymi is held, which correspond to purification and the rite of citua, in which the noble and inca warriors participated, simbolically integrating the Haucaypata (present Plaza Mayor of Cusco) with the four suyos, reaching the river Pisaq (Vilcanota), Quiquijana, Apurimac and Cusibamba.


In October, The Uma Raymi Puchayquis was held, of torture and expiation, as a rite for water and the Ayamarka Killa, held in November as invocation to the dead and ancient ones.


The main festivity in December was called Capac Inti Raymi, or easter of the sun, the ceremony of Huarachicu, consisting on a rite of initiation. The Capacocha was also held or sacrifice of purifed children, for the good government of the new incas. During this raymi, they entered the ceremonial ceques, important Archaeological sites like Haucaypata, Huanacauri, as main huaca Anahuarque and Saqsaywaman in the fifth month the chocano was held, as part of the capac Inti Raymi that was the ceremonial fight between the initialized warriors fron hanan and urin Qosqo; being the inca who imposed peace and the integration of Qosqo´s halves, ofterwards sealing this symbolic union of religious and political character through the celebration of the dance of the rope, in which the intialized young people, wearing a thick dress made of gold and according other chronist, made of wool beautifully woven, danced ceremonially around the Haucaypata square, sowly rotating to then deposit the rolled rope in the middle of the square, simulating a great serpent (Amaru) which head accupied the middle.


In January, Camay was held, and in February hatun pukuy. Between January and February the important ceremony of Mayuqati was held, which was the persecution of all the offers from the year, the ashes were thrown to the saphy river, to then be taken to the Vilcanota river,  afterwards arriving to Ollantaytambo and symbolically to the sea or Mama Qocha. This rite integrated the capital of the Tawantinsuyo with the most important archaeological monuments of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, like Pisaq, Calca, Yucay, Urubamba, Pachar, Ollantaytambo, Huayllabamba, Urquillos, Maras, Zurite and Qosqo again.


In March the entrance to the other world was celebrated, with ceremonies of the dead. The Inca Raymi Killa, corresponded to April, with the perfomance of a series of ritual games. Around May, the harvest of corn was done, and the correspondin festivity was called Aymoray Killa.


In June, the Inti Rayni or feast of the sun was held, with a ceremonial prossecion of tarpuntaes that after leaving the Haucaypata went towards the snow capped mountain named Vilcanota (Huican uta: house of the aymara). That marked the division between the valley of Vilcanota and highland plains. Once the ceremony reanimation of the sun was over, the religious prossecion went back to Cusco. Passing through the huacas of Sicuani, the temple of Huiracocha in Raqchi, Urcos, Huacaypata, in Qosqo.


In July the rites for propitiating good plowing were held and in August the chaqrapuy killa or plowing the land was held.


The collective memory and orality have preserved these ceremonies and feasts in some towns, some that probably have the characteristics from those times, however, in other towns the creativity and the desire to promete and open new sources of economical funds, are leading them to institute Raymis, like the Wata Qollary that is held in the archaeological site of Moray in the Distric of Maras.This ceremony starting the agricultural is scenefied in August, and apparently it is the intention to integrate it in only one even with the Moray Raymi which is a dance festival held in Octaber. In other provinces and districts they organize their festivites using the archaeological sites, like Kanamarca, Pitumarca, Ollantaytambo, Chumbivilcas, etc. It would be advisable to do historical and ethno historical research and go to the primary and secondary y source to give historical support to these ceremonies and Raymis and not to make them rather chaotic fairs.


The holf breeding produced since the 16th century, permitted developing a diversity of artistical manifestations. The cultural syncretism blended the pre spanish techinques with the western ones, and the workshops started, where indigenous, spanish and priests worked, in some cases with the support of the family. This way the era of cultural contac was forming through colonial and viceray times, which shows in religious, civil and domestic architecture, in the wooden glasses or keros, painting canvases, sculpture, mural painting, etc.

The religious architecture occupied and reused, the pre existent, as well as the stones and some original churches were even built following the orientation of one of the main roads of the Qhapac Ñan, constituting in processional and ceremonial axis.  


This way, the cathedral built between 1560 and 1667 in a zone higher than the square which gives it more precense, was builit over the palace or temple of Wiraqocha.Besides the architecture, it is the deposit of valuable art works, outstand the the painting on wood by the Italian priest Bernardo Democrito Bitti, the canvases by Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallao, Marcos Zapata, amog others. We should mention the altar pieces, pulpits, chairs and sculptures.


The church Compañia de Jesus is one of the samples of baroque style, which plan is in the form of latin cross, outstands its half orange dome over the crossing and its front made of carvet stone. Its main altar piece is considered one of the most beautiful in Peru. The pictorial work inside was done by the priests from the same jesuit order and other artists of the time like Diego de la Puente, Marcos Zapata, Marcos Rivera, among others. We should mention that its first altar of mannerist style was damaget by the earthquake in 1650 and substituted by the present; elements which compased that altar still remain in painting on wood in the form of five embossments that are exhibited in the Museum Casa Garcilaso.


The church and convent of la Merced is another of the religious buildings with basilica plant, it is known as the minor Basilica; integrates two cloisters, the firs in which you can appreciate the most exquisite example of the half breed baroque and the second which has a more saber architecture and is for the novices.

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