At the time of the winter solstice the Andean People celebrate Kapak Raimi, the festival of renewal. It is the legitimate Andean New Years celebration! It is a profound and important festival that celebrates the sprouting kernels of grain, symbolic of the rebirth and renewed opportunities. The solstice affects humanity all over the planet and there are so many beautiful cultural manifestations related to this special time.
Who Celebrates Winter Solstice
In this blog entry, before we pass to much further from the date, I’m eager to share with you a little about the millenary festival of Kapak Raimi and offer further insights into its meaning. As the grain begins to sprout, and the solstice offers a renewed opportunity for growth, people all over the Americas are celebrating!
While our lodge is located in Costa Rica those of you who know us, know our roots come from the Andes of Ecuador, so we carry the message of these ways and to keep learning about them and how to appreciate and integrate them into the seasonal cycles of renewal and celebration. This is the time we open our doors too, and visitors begin to arrive to appreciate the majesty of the rainforest, the ocean and the garden
Inkan Cross of the Southern Cross
Here’s a few more insights into the Kapak Raimi, represented most eloquently by the beautiful and intricate symbol, the Chakana that symbolizes balance and union between heaven and earth. It is the Andean Cross, the Inkan Cross and represents the constellation of the Southern Cross. The Chakana as we can see from the above diagram is also a calendar map, and at its core an entire cosmology for understanding and unifying with the rotational cycles of life.
During the month of December, festivities are occurring all over the Andes, and the Chakana is being laid out at the celebration areas, outlined in flowers. It is a remarkable and beautiful tradition of the people who guide this celebration of renewal of our human relationship within oneself to one’s inner garden, our true self: decent, generous, empathetic way of life. To renew this is the essence and purpose of Kapak Raimi.
As for the Kapak and the Raimi
As the grain grows, the festival of the Kapak Raimi has just occurred. When we begin to understand the meaning of the words we see the deeper realities of these festivals. The word Kapak, carries a deep message. It means sovereignty and the most authentic form of leadership. Kapak is the experience and maturity of the responsible adult who carries the innocence and purity of the child. This is why new leaders are elected during the time of Kapak Raimi, just when the grains are beginning to sprout. It is also at this time, when the most respected elders are called to clip the finger nails of the small babies. This is so their proper ways can be passed along.
It is a time to be joyous and celebrate life. Ceremonial sunrise flower baths and waterfall dunking are also customary at this time! The conch is blown, inviting in the energies of all realms! Raimi means festival and it’s time to “zapatear” – to beat our feet on the Earth with dancing, giving thanks to Pachamamita (Earth Mother) and Taita Inti (Sun Father), who allow us to have sovereignty through the growing of food by acknowledging and celebrating our connection to source. Long live the sacred gardens, let is grow according to its natural plan from within and from without!!!
Happy Solstice to all!
Here are some links to more info about this festival
How the Saraguro Celebrate the Kapak Raimi
FÊTING THE SUN: The Andean Raymi Festivals