Inca Religion

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  • Inca beliefs

Inca believed in many gods. They worshiped many deities and sacred places. Viracocha was the creator of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. They believed Sun was the most important servant of Viracocha. To the Inca, Sun was the life saver. Sun was the father of Inca emperor.

The Moon was a woman, the wife of the Sun. The Inca believed that the eclipse of the Moon was caused by a great serpent or mountain lion trying to devour her. To frighten the serpent off the Moon, the Indians pointed their weapons at it and shouted.

All the constellations had duties assigned to them by Viracocha. Thunder, the god of weather, was another important deity. Like Viracocha he was pictured as a man with a war club in one hand and a sling in the other. Thunder and lighting came from his sling, and from the Milky Way he drew the rain.

Farmers worshiped earth as Earth Mother, while the fishermen worshiped Mother Sea.

  • Huaca

In additions to worshipping he deities, the Inca worshipped the numerous huacas -sacred places -which were everywhere throughout the Inca Empire. Mountaintop were huacas, because man could not penetrate them. The emperor's palace, with all his goods, was sealed after his death and became a huaca. Battlefields, caves, springs, quarries, and even the roots were Huacas. There always seemed to be room for more huacas in the religions of the Andeans. When the Inca conquered a village and introduced new huacas, the villagers gladly accepted them.

A man would sprinkle a few coca leaves as he passed a huaca. If he had no coca leaves, he placed a stone near it, as many had done before him. Thus huacas were distinguished by the piles of stone. If he had nothing at all to offer, he pulled a few hairs from his eyebrows and lashes and blew them toward the shrine. Many huacas had shelters nearby. A priest lived in the shelter, caring for the shrine and cultivating a small field beside it in honor of the huaca.

  • Religious Ceremonies and Festivals

Inca religious ceremonies followed the Inca calendar. The seasons of the year were very important to the Inca, because they lived off the land. Their calendar was divided into twelve lunar months, named for important agricultural and religious events. Since the seasons south of the equator are reversed, the January of the Inca calendar was the equivalent of June on North America. The calendar year began with December, which is like May in the north. Every month they had one more festivals. Inca festivals were colorful.

December or Kapac Raymi was the month of Magnificent Festival. During this month the Inca held initiation ceremonies for the sons of the nobility. January or Kamay was the month of Small Ripening. February, Hatun Poky, was the moth of the Great Ripening. March, Pakar Waray, was the month of the flowers and Earth Ripening. April, Auriwa, the month of the Dance of Young Maize, a white Llama, brushed and groomed and covered with fine cloths and gold ornaments, was paraded in the plaza before a large gathering. In May, Aymuray, festivals were held all over the Empire to celebrate the month of the Harvest.

June, Inti Raymi, was the month of festival of the Sun - the most important Inca ceremony. The people believed that the Sun was holding the celebration and that the nobility were his guests at the festival. The emperor himself over this ceremony, and every nobleman, dressed in his best and displaying all the ornaments he possessed, came to Cusco for it.

Inti Raymi is one of the most celebrated festival in Peru

July, Chawa Warkis, was the month of earth purification. During this month priests make sacrifices to the huaca which presided over the irrigation system of the Cusco valley, and similar festivals were held to honor the huacas at the irrigation canals held the huacas at the irrigation canals all over the Empire.

August, Yapakis, was the month of everyone's Purification. Sacrifices, brought to Cusco from the four provinces of the Empire, honored Water, Frost, the Air, and the Sun.

September, Koya Raymi, was a dry month, and the Queen's Festival honored the change in weather. In October, Uma Raymi, the Inca held the Festival of Water. The people prayed for the rain, because the crops that had been sown in August and September would fail without it.

In November, Ayamarka Raymi, there was the Festival of the Dead. During this festival people made offerings to their dead ancestors. It is possible that this worship of ancestors was based on a fear of the dead. The Inca may have believed that unless they treated the shades of the dead with respect, the shades might molest the living.

In additions to the these monthly ceremonies there were many others, which were held on special occasions, such as drought, an earthquake, or a war. During these ceremonies everyone who was not of noble rank had to leave Cusco. Men and boys marched in procession through the streets, wearing red shirts with long fringes and ornaments, great feathered headdresses, and shell necklaces. They carried small dried green birds and white drums. At these ceremonies the only sound was the sound of the drums; the people were silent.

  • Inca God and Goddess

Of all the gods and goddess Inca worshiped Viracocha and Inti was the most respected.

Viracocha : In Inca mythology Viracocha was the creator of universe. He was the most important deities in the Inca pantheon. There are many legends on Viracocha. One legend says Inti was his son and Mama Quilla and Pachamaam were his daughters. According to this legend he created a great flood and destroyed the people around Lake Titicaca. He saved only Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo so that they can bring civilization to the world. Afterward Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo founded the Inca civilization. 

Inti: Inti was the Sun God. Inca believed he was the son of Viracocha. The Sapa Inca was believed to be direct descendent of Inti or Sun. Inca legend says Inti taught Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo the art of civilization and then he sent them to earth so that they can bring civilization to earth. One legend says Manco Capac was his son, though it is a bit confusing as in another legend Manco Capac was stated as son of Viracocha.

Here I have made a list of other God and Goddess worshipped by Inca

 

Name of God or Goddess Descriptions
Apu God of mountain
Apocatequil God of Lighting
Catequil God of thunder and lighting
Chasca Coyllur Goddess of flower and young maidens
Copacati Goddess of lake
Lllapa Lllapa was a very popular weather god
Kon God of rain and wind. Kon came from the south. He was a son of Inti and Mama Quilla.
Mama Cocha Goddess of seas and fishes. She was also known as sea mother. one legend says she was wife of Viracocha and mother of Inti and Mama Quilla
Mama Pacha or Pachamama She was the one who caused earthquake. She was responsible for planting and harvesting. She was wife of Pachamac.
Mama Quilla
 
She was one of the important deity. She was marriage, festival and moon goddess and daughter of Viracocha.
Mama Zara Goddess of grain.
Pariacaca God of water and rainstorms. He was born as a falcon and changed to human.
Supay god of death
Urcaguary God of Jewels

 

 

The Creator God Viracocha rose from Lake Titicaca during the time of darkness to bring forth light.

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Aymara Indians Legend

Viracocha

Inti Sun