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Bolivia Welcomes Winter Solstice With Traditional Ceremony

IN PICTURES: According to Aymara teachings, 'Al Tata Inti' (Father Sun) gives his warmth to Earth on the New Year, heralding the onset of spring.

As dawn broke over the archaeological site of Tiwanaku in on June 21, Indigenous Aymara raised their hands towards the first rays of the morning sun to welcome the Aymara New Year, 5526.

Bolivian President Evo Morales attended this year's celebration and, together with a group of Aumara religious priests, led the ceremony.

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The calculation of the year 5526 results from the sum of the five cycles, each of which represents 1,000 years
The calculation of the year 5526 results from the sum of the five cycles, each of which represents 1,000 years' social history of the original peoples until the arrival of Christopher Columbus in Abya Yala (the present-day Americas) in 1492. Photo:Reuters
Aymara women raise their hands to receive the first sunbeams during a June 21 ceremony marking the winter solstice, at the Tiahuanaco ruins.
Aymara women raise their hands to receive the first sunbeams during a June 21 ceremony marking the winter solstice, at the Tiahuanaco ruins. Photo:Reuters
The celebrations began at dawn in cold temperatures as followers warmed to the first rays of the winter solstice sun.
The celebrations began at dawn in cold temperatures as followers warmed to the first rays of the winter solstice sun. Photo:Reuters
"This place is called Mother Earth, place of the stones, people of the Incans and the people of the Aymara. Today, we have received the energy of the heat of Father Sun to have good words, oxygen, blessing of the cold, blessing of the water and the heat of the fire. We walk with the heat. We are very grateful for this," Tiburcio Apaza, an Aymara teacher, said.
"This place is called Mother Earth, place of the stones, people of the Incans and the people of the Aymara. Today, we have received the energy of the heat of Father Sun to have good words, oxygen, blessing of the cold, blessing of the water and the heat of the fire. We walk with the heat. We are very grateful for this," Tiburcio Apaza, an Aymara teacher, said. Photo:Reuters
The celebration took place amid the ruins of the ancient city of Tiwanaku, with religious monuments such as the Akapana Pyramid and the Ponce monolith setting the tone.
The celebration took place amid the ruins of the ancient city of Tiwanaku, with religious monuments such as the Akapana Pyramid and the Ponce monolith setting the tone. Photo:Reuters
Llama fetuses are burned as part an offering during the Bolivian winter solstice ceremony.
Llama fetuses are burned as part an offering during the Bolivian winter solstice ceremony. Photo:Reuters
According to Aymara teachings,
According to Aymara teachings, 'Al Tata Inti' (Father Sun) gives his warmth to Earth on the New Year, heralding the onset of spring. Photo:Reuters
In pre-Hispanic America, native people depended on agriculture and many of their rites are aimed at obtaining the blessing of the gods to ensure an abundant crop.
In pre-Hispanic America, native people depended on agriculture and many of their rites are aimed at obtaining the blessing of the gods to ensure an abundant crop. Photo:Reuters
Published 21 June 2018
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