General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 19 Apr 2021/3 Alligator
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An Aztec mother scolds her younger son for drinking before his sibling

Superstitious? (5)

Here’s another in our series on Mexica (Aztec) superstitions, taken from the Florentine Codex. This one relates to family etiquette and the rules for respecting your elders. Just as children were brought up not to speak in the presence of their grandparents before being spoken to (not that different to Victorian customs in England), so too you’d be in trouble if you drank before your older brother or sister... (Compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

‘When, perchance, one drank; if one yet a small child drank first, and afterwards one drank who was a little older, already grown, then [the elder] restrained and took the water from the small child. He said to him: “Why dost thou wish to drink first? Thou wilt not grow large, but remain small. Now let they elder brother drink, for he is already bigger.”’

Image from Book 5 of the Florentine Codex (original in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence) scanned from our own copy of the Club Internacional del Libro 3-volume facsimile edition, Madrid, 1994
Quote from The Florentine Codex, Book 5 - The Omens (appendix), trans. Dibble & Anderson, University of Utah, 1981, p. 185.

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Feb 25th 2018

emoticon Q. Guess which modern English expression we owe to this Aztec superstition?
A. ‘First come, first served’!

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