Dancing for the Sun

In the Southern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice on June 21st is the shortest day of the year. The Inca, scared that the sun was abandoning them, held ceremonies for Inti, the sun, and Pacha Mama, mother nature, and begged them to stay and continue being generous with them.
In Cusco, the ceremonies and celebrations around the winter solstice have turned into a 2 week event, and it seems like everyone has taken the streets to make music and dance.
In typical folkloric costumes, people of all ages dance in the Plaza de Armas. Built over Inca ruins, the Plaza hosts these dancers who reenact ancient traditions and chants.
They are surrounded by colonial buildings and churches, built by the very people who tried to destroy what they still carry inside of them. But they now have crosses in their dresses and virgins in their altars as they have incorporated the Catholic beliefs into their heritage. Some kind of culture fusion.
The narrative we have been exposed to since we got here is that the Spaniards conquered the Inca empire, but were unable to destroy the Inca heart and soul. Inca knowledge has been lost and, for example, noone knows exactly how they built structures that withstand earthquakes while all the colonial structures fall apart, or how they built bridges that lasted hundreds of years, but much is still kept alive through the people.
Most Peruvians we have met like to tell us that someone from their family comes from the jungle or the mountains, that they speak Quechua with their grandparents and that they are deeply proud of their indigenous past.
What is interesting to me is that most of the indigenous populations that now embrace the Inca culture and strive to keep it alive, actually come from other cultures that were conquered by the Inca. Just like they did in the past, the Inca swallowed the other cultures and turned them into an extension of their own.
Sometimes, when I see blonde tourists wear the typical Peruvian skirts and their hair in braids like the locals, I think it is ridiculous. But maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s just one more form of fusion of cultures where the shiniest is the most appealing. An appropriation of the superficiality of a culture in a time where nothing is really anyone’s anymore.