General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 23 Nov 2017/8 Flint
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Meeting an Aztec dwarf ghost at night when going to the loo, Florentine Codex

Superstitious? (3)

The Mexica (Aztecs) were nothing if not superstitious. Night time was, for the vast majority, a time to rest and sleep. If you had to attend to what the Florentine Codex (Book V) calls ‘the needs of the night’, then.... GOOD LUCK! (Written/compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

Whilst the Aztecs developed an efficient system of public ‘latrines’ (toilets) in Tenochtitlan - there were plenty of loos placed on canal bridges (the poo dropped down to special canoes waiting underneath for trained poo-gatherers to collect it and ship it all off to be fertilizer in the fields) - at home it was a different story. Without a ‘privvy’, you were forced to leave your house and walk by moonlight either to one of the public toilets or - more likely - to any patch of wasteland nearby. The risk? You might bump into Cuitlapanton, a midget girl (‘small like a sandal, a little cooking pot; a squat dwarf, pressed down like dung’), who went creeping (‘waddling’) along the ground. To see her was an omen of death to anyone vulnerable to such things: if you were brave enough not to believe in the power of the omen, then at the very least she only ‘terrified’ you...!

Image scanned from our own copy of the Club Internacional del Libro facsimile edition of the Florentine Codex, Madrid, 1994

Info from The Florentine Codex, Book V (Eds. Charles E. Dibble & Arthur J. O. Anderson), School of American Research, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1979 and Historia de la Vida Cotidiana en México, vol. I (Ed. Pablo Escalante Gonzalbo), Colegio de México, 2004.

emoticon Q. Why did the Aztecs dread going to the loo at night?
A. They might get ‘sPOOked’!

More Aztec superstitions...

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