Priests and priestesses listened to confessions of carelessness in saying prayers, neglect of festivals, witchcraft, poisoning, and even murder. To hide anything during a confession was regarded as a sin. After confession the penitent fasted and bathed in a running stream to purify himself.
The emperor and his household did not have to confess to any priests. They confessed directly to the Sun and asked the Sun to speak for them to Viracocha. After such a confession, they bathed in a river, so the water would carry away their sins.
Men and women prayed both silently and aloud. The common people did not memorize prayers, as the priests and some of the nobles did. The ceremonial prayers of the priests and the nobles were word perfect. Each person spoke directly to the gods with the same respect and careful choice of words he would use in speaking to an older and wiser person. Feasting, drinking chicha, and dancing usually followed each ceremony.