The Aztec calendar is one of the most important calendars in the world. Not only did it serve as a calendar for Aztecs, but also their culture, religion, and history were all centered on the calendar.
The Aztec Calendar was a very complex system that used many symbols to represent different aspects of the Aztec culture. The symbols in the calendar were central to writing and art work in the Aztec Empire. In this article we will explore how the Aztec Calendar worked and what its symbols mean.
The Aztec Calendar is known as the Xihuitl, or “Year Count.” The Aztecs named their days, so using the calendar was a matter of counting forward. Each day had its own name.
The names of these days were used to create a poetic language that was used in many of the documents that have survived from the Aztecs. You can see some surviving examples of this poetry at the Aztec Poetry site.
It might seem strange to think about a calendar this way, but it is easy to see how it might work. A few examples will show you how it works.
The Aztec Calendar was used as a guide for planting and harvesting. It would also be used to plan wars and trade. The only way to tell time was by the sun. Since they didn’t have watches they could only tell time during the day.
The Aztecs also used the calendar for religious reasons as well. There were different gods for each aspect of their lives and the things around them so they had gods for war, love, death, etc. They would also use the calendar to tell when to do rituals for these gods.
A great part of the history of Mexico is kept in the calendar, this is why it is important culturally to them even today. Most people didn’t know how to read or write so they had to rely on someone else to read them what their horoscope said. It was believed that they would learn more about their lives from reading their horoscope than if it was just told to them out loud.
It is very hard for us westerners to understand how important our horoscopes are because we don’t really believe in astrology like other countries do. We are told at the end of November which star sign we are now under and people will say “oh wow I’m a scorpio” but then continue on with
The Aztec calendar was very simple in design. It consisted of a circular stone disk with 365 days divided into 18 groups of 20 days called Uinals. The last five days were the unlucky ones, called Nemontemi or the “days without names” and were considered to be an omen of bad luck and nothing was done during these five days. The days were not numbered but each day had one of four symbols that represented the sun’s position over the earth, which represented a specific god.
Each group was represented by a different animal: deer, rabbit, snake and eagle.
The sun god dominated the calendar: he had four different aspects which were shown in four different colors: red for Tonatiuh – “Sun of Movement”, yellow for Tonacatecuhtli – “Sun of Night”, blue for Tonacacihuatl – “Sun of Female Warrior” and black for Itztlacoliuhqui – “Sun of Obsidian Blade”.
The Aztec day began at sunset, so the calendar was used to predict future events based on shadows that appeared during the day. For example, when an eagle symbol appeared it meant that it would be lucky to go hunting that day. If a rabbit symbol appeared then it would be a good
The Aztec calendar was arranged in a series of cycles, or rounds. The first five cycles made up one great cycle, or sun, and the next four made up another. In total, there were thirteen cycles in one great cycle, and fifty-two in the other.
The people of the Aztec empire believed that they were living in the “fifth sun.” They believed that they had been through four previous creations, each more terrible than the last. The gods had destroyed Earth with fire and water; then they created it again. Nearly all humans died during each destruction. The only survivors were a man and a woman who were hidden in a cave; their children repopulated the world. The gods decided to let people live forever after the fourth flood.
When the Aztec found these calendars on stone tablets in caves and other ruins they thought they had found records of earlier worlds left by their ancestors. They felt that the end of their own world would come soon since it was destined to happen every fifty-two years.
They believed that when their world ended, only corn would survive. Then Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god, would return from his home beyond the sea to make a new heaven and earth out of cornmeal. He
The Aztec calendar, like most ancient calendars, was a combination of both solar and lunar calendars. It is divided into eighteen months of twenty days each, with a five-day period at the end of the year called Uayeb.
A ritual was performed at the end of every month to honor the gods associated with that month. The ritual varied according to which deity was being honored. The ritual included sacrifices to the god, feasting, singing and dancing.
The gods were worshiped in temples and shrines throughout the Aztec Empire; however, the most important religious center was located in Tenochtitlan (present-day Mexico City). There were two shrines dedicated to Tlaloc, one located on top of Mt. Tlaloc (or Huixachtlan) behind the Great Temple and another at the bottom of Mt. Tlaloc near a freshwater spring. In addition, there were two shrines for Huitzilopochtli: one located in his temple in the Great Temple complex, and another built beside Lake Texcoco where human sacrifices were performed during rituals.*
The Templo Mayor (Great Temple) had four shrines: one for Tlaloc on top of Mt. Tlal
The Aztec calendar is a combination of the old calendar used by the Mexica, or Aztecs, and the solar calendar. The solar calendar was adopted from the Toltec civilization which ruled central Mexico before the Aztecs overran them in 1325.
The Aztec year was broken into 18 months of 20 days each, with a 5-day period at the end of the year called “the deserted”. The names of these months were:
*Maitoztli – Rainy season *Xocotl – Flower *Calli – House *Tecpatl – Flint *Tochtli – Rabbit *Miztli – Deer *Atl – Water *Cipactli – Alligator *Cozcacuauhtli – Crocodile/Crocodile day (13th) *Ozomahtli – Vulture/Scavenger bird (14th)
*Ayauhtecuilhuitl – Heron (15th) *Cuetzpallin – Monkey (16th) *Teotleco – Frog/Toad (17th)
*Xayacatl – Rain (18th)
The beginning of each month had one of 20 symbols: