Saraguro Ecuador Celebration of Killa Raymi

The symbolic Chakana cross
The symbolic Chakana cross

Ecuador’s Kichwa or Quechua - local descendants of the Incan empire - attach divine importance to the number four. This includes the four seasons marked by solstice and equinox astronomical events, the cardinal directions, and the elements of earth, air, water, and fire all encapsulated by the Andean cross symbol or ‘Chakana’.  The four festivals celebrating nature and their peoples’ part in the physical world are known as Raymis. September is the second annual equinox, the time when the sun crosses the equator and light and darkness are equal. Killa or Kulla (moon) Raymi is a tribute to Quilla mama, or the goddess of the moon, and takes place around the 23rd of the month.

At noon on the second equinox the ceremonies for Kulla Raymi commence in Saraguro, a majority indigenous community in Loja province in their main square. This Raymi inaugurates the agricultural year as farmers make ready to sow their fields. Kulla Raymi honors new beginnings and the fertile feminine aspects of the cosmos. 

Kulla Raymi occurs across the Andean indigenous world with each community observing it in their own styles. In Saraguro, as in other Kichwa locales, this includes ritual cleansings, dancing, music, and a big procession. The public presentation of and communal feasting on special dishes made just for the occasion are what is unique about Saraguro’s Kulla Raymi. The finest aspects of Loja’s indigenous Kichwa culture are on display during the Raymi festivals. Saraguro welcomes visitors to participate.

For more information about visiting Saraguro and/or experiencing this celebration, contact Life in Loja by email, or phone/WhatsApp at 593-098-674-5994.

Life In Loja is registered under Ecuador’s department of intellectual rights as of 2022.

Sources: Notyouraverageamericandotcom, Byron Macas, Nan Magazine, La Hora, Saraguro y su cultura


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