5 Indigenous Winter Solstice Celebrations That Honor the Shortest Day of the Year


Inti Raymi – Quechua

Of course, half of this great continent is on the flipside of the equator, which means winter solstice actually falls in late June rather than December. According to Peruvian chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega, Inti Raymi (or “Festival of the Sun”) was established in the early 15th century by the Inca emperor Pachacutec and was celebrated every year until it was outlawed by Catholic priests in 1535.

Traditionally the new years celebration lasted nine days and involved dances and animal sacrifices to Pachamama. In more remote indigenous communities throughout the Andes, the celebration has been preserved through the ostensibly Catholic festival of San Juan Bautista, while a recreation of the original pre-Columbian festival takes place every year at the archaeological site Saksaywaman on June 24th.

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Costco, a modern love story

About two years ago, I stumbled upon a hysterical yet shocking article about a high schooler who was accepted to five Ivy League schools with… get this… a prompt about Costco. Five! Including Stanford, whose acceptance rate is lower than any Ivy League school. I am sure her GPA, SAT’s and all the other scores needed for university were outstanding in every way possible, but Costco? I began to rethink my life choices… maybe I shouldn’t have written about my gradual awareness of the obvious racial tensions in this country, and I would’ve been a stellar alumni from Brown University. Regardless, all envy aside, her prompt was impressive and without a doubt, creative.

For as long as I can remember, Costco and I haven’t been the best of friends. Its monstrously vast concrete inside is anything but welcoming. I always attempt to avoid entering or even stepping nearby, for fear of being kept in by its cold tentacles of products I convince myself to need, in large quantities. So I simply avoid it; except for one Monday night, the first Monday night after our most memorable of elections. I dreadfully walked in with my dad with the sole purpose of purchasing a large pizza (sidenote: they have the best pizza). As we waited, I saw a side to Costco I had never seen before. Whether it was because I have been blinded by my dislike or simply put, my world pre-election seemed to be heading into a new wave of progressiveness, the beauty was breathtaking.

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