In the ancient Andes, high mountains were worshiped for their power of controlling the weather as well as crop productivity. Moreover, Andean people honored these mountains as being the origin of their culture, the home of powerful spirits, and the linkage between the Earth and sky. Hence, it is not surprising that they hold ceremonies every year to show their respect to those mythical giants. In fact, more than 50 ceremonial sites have been found near high mountains by archaeologists.
The shrine of Quyllur Rit’i is located in the Sinakara valley in the Cusco Region of Peru, at which the spiritual and religious Star Snow Festival is held every year. It is close to Ausungate peak, which is over 20,000 ft.
Catholic pilgrimages began since 1783 when a local shepherd boy encountered a mysterious white youth, who appears to be the child Christ based on the legend. The festival is held in mid-June and on September 14. Over 10,000 pilgrims as well as tourists will gather at the site annually, even though Quyllur Rit’i is quite difficult to reach. After all, it is a valuable opportunity to enjoy spectacular ritual dance.
Here are some photographs of the Quyllur Rit’i. Read more about the festival here.