June 21, 2018 #ChileDiverse

The Indigenous New Year

This June 21 is not only the official date on which we begin the winter, since from today until June 24 different native peoples of our country will carry out their celebrations of the Indigenous New Year, which occurs along with the winter solstice. This date represents the return of the Sun to the Earth. The light returns, the nights will become shorter and the days longer over the next six months.

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For the indigenous peoples both the solstices and the equinoxes were always of importance because through the behavior of the sun they could better understand the nature that surrounds them and on which they constantly depend for livestock and agriculture. It is a period considered as a rebirth, the harvest is over and now the earth prepares for the sowing season. The sprouts emerge, the animals will change their fur and the streams will present an increase in their waters due to the rains and thaws.

Various villages begin their ritual ceremonies to usher in the new year, giving thanks to mother earth and father sun, requesting a productive year full of prosperity for their livestock and crops. The Aymara Aymara people people celebrate the "Machaq Mara" or separation of the year. In this celebration offerings are given to mother earth or Pachamama to thank her for her generosity, with the objective of reestablishing harmony, all in a spirit of community along with dances, music and food.

The Quechua Quechua peoplepeople celebrate this date under the name "Inti Raymi", a celebration of gratitude to nature and to the sun star Inti, a ritual inherited from the Inca culture. The Kolla Kolla people people also take part in the celebration of this new year under the name of "Huata Mosoj", which takes place at dawn and is carried out by a Yatiri, which corresponds to a wise person chosen by the spiritual forces.

Another people in northern Chile who celebrate this date are the Atacameños. Atacameñosunder the name of "Likan Antai". During this event a fire is lit to pass the cold and around it they recite "Aijate, aijate al jumor" in the Kunza language. kunza languagewhich means "go to the fire", while praying to the Pata Hoiri (or mother earth).

This date also acquires great importance in the Rapa Nui culture. Rapa Nuiculture, where the "Aringa Ora o Koro" is celebrated, which translates as "The living face of the patriarch". During this rite the beginning of a new season and the umbilical cord of life is celebrated as a symbol of fertility and productivity. During this event the patriarchs of the families are also honored, along with the lineages and relatives of the community.

One of the most popular celebrations today is that of the Mapuche people. Mapuche peoplepeople, which is called "We Tripantu" or "Wiñoi Tripantu", which in Mapudungun Mapudungun language means "the new sunrise". It is generally celebrated on the eve of June 24, where they gather in a host house where each attendee brings their yewüm (contribution in food or presents) and as a group they share stories and tales of the Mapuche culture. There are also ceremonial dances around a bonfire and traditional games, all accompanied by traditional Mapuche food such as muday or mültrün.

At dawn, the first thing to do is to bathe in a river to eliminate all the old and bad spirits, then they gather to welcome the sun and exclaim "Akuy we tripantu!" and "Wiñoi tripantu" ("The new year has arrived!" and "The dawn is coming back" respectively). During the rest of the day, various ceremonial and festive activities take place to start the new year with prosperity.


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