Not simply one calendar

over there is not just one Aztec calendar, there are two more or less independent systems. One calendar, referred to as the xiuhpohualli, has 365 days. It explains the days and rituals related to the seasons, and therefor can be referred to as the farming year or the solar year. The various other calendar has actually 260 days. In Nahuatl, the language the the Aztecs, the is dubbed the tonalpohualli or, the day-count. Most information on this website refers to the tonalpohualli, i m sorry is the spiritual calendar.

The tonalpohualli and Aztec cosmology




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A fancy rendition of the sunlight Stone, or the stone of Axayacatl. Depicts the 20 daysigns around the sunlight God.


The tonalpohualli, or day-count, has been referred to as a sacred calendar due to the fact that its main purpose is that of a divinatory tool. It divides the days and rituals between the gods. Because that the Aztec psychic this is incredibly important. There is no it the world would soon pertained to an end. Follow to Aztec cosmology, the world is in a an extremely delicate equilibrium. Opposing divine forces are competing for power. This equilibrium is in continuous danger of being disrupted by changing powers that the gods, the the elemental forces that affect our lives. This struggle cannot be winner by any god. The id that everything ultimately is composed of 2 opposing forces is vital to the Aztec worldview. The world is constantly on the brink of going under in a spiritual war, a battle of gods competing for supreme power. To stop this from happening, the gods have actually been offered their own space, their own time, their very own social groups, etcetera, to dominion over. The tonalpohualli tells us just how time is divided among the gods.

The device of the tonalpohualli

The system of the tonalpohualli can be ideal understood through imagining 2 wheels that are linked to every other. One wheel has the number "one" come "thirteen" created on it. The 2nd wheel has actually twenty signs on it. In the early situation, number "one" combines v the an initial symbol. This is the first day the the tonalpohualli. Currently the wheels begin moving and also number "two" combines through the second glyph. This is the second day. ~ fourteen days, an Aztec mainly (trecena in Spanish) that thirteen days has passed. The wheel through the numbers mirrors number "one" again. The various other wheel now shows the fourteenth symbol. After 260 days, the 2 wheels have returned to your initial position. The tonalpohualli starts all over again.

Dividing time among gods

A job (tonalli) in the tonalpohualli consists of a number and a prize or daysign. Each daysign is specialized to a god or elemental force, the provider the tonalli (Shadow Soul) life power for the day. The twenty daysigns and also their gods room successively:

Nr. Daysign God
1 Cipactli Tonacatecuhtli
2 Ehecatl Quetzalcoatl
3 Calli Tepeyollotl
4 Cuetzpalin Huehuecoyotl
5 Coatl Chalchihuitlicue
6 Miquiztli Tecciztecatl
7 Mazatl Tlaloc
8 Tochtli Mayahuel
9 Atl Xiuhtecuhtli
10 Itzcuintli Mictlantecuhtli
Nr. Daysign God
11 Ozomahtli Xochipili
12 Malinalli Patecatl
13 Acatl Tezcatlipoca
14 Ocelotl Tlazolteotl
15 Cuauhtli Xipe Totec
16 Cozcacuauhtli Itzpapalotl
17 Ollin Xolotl
18 Tecpatl Chalchihuihtotolin
19 Quiahuitl Tonatiuh
20 Xochitl Xochiquetzal

The nature of a work is additionally influenced through a pressure related come its number. This offers the teyollia (Spirit Soul) for the given day. The numerals v their surname in Nahuatl and also their related spirits are:

Nr. Nahuatl God
1Ce Xiuhtecuhtli
2Ome Tlaltecuhtli
3Yei Chalchihuitlicue
4Nahui Tonatiuh
5Mahcuilli Tlazolteotl
6Chicuacen Mictlantecuhtli
7Chicome Centeotl
8Chicuei Tlaloc
9Chicunahui Quetzalcoatl
10Mahtlactli Tezcatlipoca
11Mahtlactli-once Chalmecatecuhtli
12Mahtlactli-omome Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli
13Mahtlactli-omei Citlalicue

even more, each trecena (consecutive collection of days numbered indigenous "1" to "13") has a god that rules over those days. The twenty trecenas and their connected gods or elemental forces are:

Nr. Trecena God
1 Cipactli Ometeotl
2 Ocelotl Quetzalcoatl
3 Mazatl Tepeyollotl
4 Xochitl Huehuecoyotl
5 Acatl Chalchihuitlicue
6 Miquiztli Tonatiuh
7 Quiahuitl Tlaloc
8 Malinalli Mayahuel
9 Coatl Xiuhtecuhtli
10 Tecpatl Mictlantecuhtli
Nr. Trecena God
11 Ozomahtli Patecatl
12 Cuetzpalin Itzlacoliuhqui
13 Ollin Tlazolteotl
14 Itzcuintli Xipe Totec
15 Calli Itzpapalotl
16 Cozcacuauhtli Xolotl
17 Atl Chalchihuihtotolin
18 Ehecatl Chantico
19 Cuauhtli Xochiquetzal
20 Tochtli Xiuhtecuhtli

The xiuhpohualli

The 365-day year or xihuitl consists of 18 months (meztli) the 20 days (also dubbed veintenas) plus 5 extra (unlucky) days. According to Caso, the last day the the critical veintena the the year gives its (tonalpohualli-) surname to the xihuitl. This surname is the "Xihuitl" info that is shown by the calendar. A an easy calculation learns that only 4 daysigns have the right to "bear" (i.e. Provide their name to) the year. These are Calli, Tochtli, Acatl and Tecpatl because that the Aztec calendar. A similar calculation tells us that the number of the xihuitl is raised every year. So year 1-Calli is complied with by 2-Tochtli, etcetera. This way that every 52 year (4 time 13) the name of the year will be the same. A combination of 52 years is dubbed a calendar ring or xiuhmolpilli (bundle).

As declared by H.B. Nicholson, numerous ethnohistorical sources suggest that no Tititl, as proposed by Caso, but Izcalli to be the critical veintena the the year. This shifts shows up to move the year bearer come the last day the the prior to last veintena, which seems a quite insignificant position.

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However, the veintena festivals most likely started in ~ dusk while tonalli days begin at dawn (or noon), therefore the last veintena festival actually started on the year bearer.