History for the Rest of Us

Inca Festival of Illapa

Inca Festival of Illapa

Jul 25, 2012

On July 25, the Inca held a festival in honor of one of their most important deities, Illapa. The thunder god, Illapa ruled over rain, hail, lightning, and stormy weather. Since the Inca were dependent on moderate rain for successful crops, Illapa was surpassed in importance only by Viracocha (the creator), and Inti (the sun god). Depicted as human in form, Illapa carried a sling and club. The sound of thunder was believed to be a result of Illapa moving the sling through the heavens, and lightning a result of the stones being cast across the sky. Illapa created rain by drawing water from what the Incas called the ‘Celestial River’ (Milky Way) and pouring it over the earth.