Everything for Aymara's New Year 5517 at Tiwanaku

Happy New Year 5517, it’s not a typo; Aymara people in Tiwanaku Bolivia are celebrating the year 5517. Tiwanaku has been the center of spiritual and political life of the Tiwanaku culture. After the extinction of this culture, before the Spanish conquistadors reached America, Andean people had gathered here to celebrate the Willkakuti (Return of the Sun), for many centuries. The celebration of the New Year or Willkakuti coincides with winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, when the sun is farthest from the planet. This natural phenomenon marks the beginning of a new planting season.

According to the official program, the June 20 will start on the town’s main square of Tiwanaku, with a pilgrimage to Quimsa Chata, where there will be an offering to mother earth.

Later at 5 p.m. on the main square of the town there will be a Cultural Festival for all visitors, this will last trough the night and it will be accompanied of native music and. The next day all will be ready for the Ritual Ceremony of the Great Willkakuti at the temple of Kalasasaya. The sun will rise around 07:25 a.m. when all locals and visitors will receive the Cosmic Energy of the first rays of the sun on a New Year. This will be done by raising the hands to the rays of the new sun as tradition calls.

Tours for this celebration are easy to find around Sagarnaga Street in La Paz. It’s advised to bring warm clothes, gloves and something warm to drink, due to the frigid conditions of the Andes during the night.

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