Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Inti Raymi: Purification, Dancing, Food and Gratitude

Ecuadoran students share the Inti Raymi at the University of New Mexico
Every year, around the summer solstice (June 21-24), the indigenous communities of the Andes go to sources of water--springs, waterfalls, rivers--to carry a communitarian ritual  known as the Inti Raymi.  The ritual includes a purification ceremony, a joyous dance, and plenty of food.  While the ceremony celebrates the sun (Inti) and Mother Earth (Pachamama), there is an overriding message: :gratitude and thanksgiving.  It is when we recognize that the food we receive does not depend entirely on our own efforts that we appreciate what we have and are more likely to share. Protection of the environment, particularly our sources of water, is also an important aspect of the ceremony.

This summer, a group of students from Universidad San Francisco de Quito shared theInti Raymi  ritual with members of the Albuquerque community (including staff from the Latin American and Iberian Institute).  We were purified with sage and shared water, and danced around in a circle to the sound of Andean musical instruments.  And then we shared a meal of chicken, potatoes, beans and fruit.  

The students are at UNM for several weeks as part of a summer academic program.  They will also have an opportunity to spend some time in one or more of the Pueblo communities in New Mexico.

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