For most of us pagans in the Northern Hemisphere this is the season of Yule and the Yule celebration. For me, because of the time and training the I recevied in South America it's also the time when I celebrate Inti Raymi (Quchua: Fesitval of the Sun).
Inti Raymi in Bolivia and Peru is the winter solstice. It is celebrated on June 24 of each year in Tawatinsuyo (The Four Corners of the Earth, the Quechua name for the Inka empire). Obviously it's winter in June in the Southern Hemisphere but here where I live its wintern now so I celebrate Inti Raymi six month later when the winter solstice arrives here in the North.
As in all ancient cultures the day when the sun was at it lowest in the sky, seemingly fartherest away from the earth, and when the day was the shortest a celebration was held to call the sun back. A day to also celebrate the beginning of the rebirth of the sun. According to tradition, Sapa Pachakutiq Inka Yupanki (1) created the Inti Raymi to celebrate the new year in the Andes of the Southern Hemisphere. The ceremony was also said to indicate the mythical origin of the Incas. It lasted for nine days and was filled with colorful dances and processions, as well as animal sacrifices to thank Pachamama (Mother Earth) and to ensure a good cropping season. The first Inti Raymi was celebrated in 1412 and the last Inti Raymi with the Inca Emperor's presence was carried out in 1535, after it was banned by the Spanish/Catholics.
I celebrated this morning by getting up before sunrise and greeting the sun at sunrise with a tune on my Andean flute. We lit a fire that we will keep burning all day long and at sunrise we will gather together to dance around the fire, honor gifts to Inti Tayta (Father Sun) by burning small gift bundles in the fire, offer a libation to Pachamana and then end by honoring each other and with the giving of gifts.
May your new year be full of peace and joy!
(1) Sapa (Quechua: The Only One ), Pachakutiq (Quechua: He Who Overcomes Space and Time) and Yupanki (Quechua: with honor) Sapa Inca Pachacuti was the 9th Sapa Inca and the one who turned the Kingdom of Cusco into the Inca Empire, Tawatinsuyo.
I'm Dr. Dave, a modern druid. I lived and worked in Bolivia and Peru for over six years, where I and was trained by Andean Shamans, and today practice Druidcraft, eclectic shamanism and Ayurveda.