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Article suitable for Top Juniors and above

Third ‘month’ in the Aztec solar calendar

The Aztec third ‘month’

The third in a series of short pieces that Zoe Ann Steenberge has kindly sent us, detailing the main points of the 18 months in the Aztec/Mexica ‘xiuhpohualli’ or farming/solar calendar.


Tozoztontli is the third month of the Aztec year and corresponds with the dates of March 24th-April12th on our calendar. Translated from the Nahuatl Tozoztontli means “little vigil”. The gods who were honored during this month were Tlaloc, Coatlicue, Chalchihutlicue, and Centeotl. Ceremonies held in honor of the gods at this time were child sacrifices to the rain gods asking for rain. In honor of the earth deities Coatlicue and Centeotl there were first rituals in the fields and ceremonial planting in the Chinanmpa zone. There were also flowers offered as well. The Xipe Totec rites ended and the flayed skins that had been worn by the priests for twenty days were “buried” in the Yopico temple.

Image scanned from our own copy of Los Calendarios Mexianos by Mariano Fernández de Echeverría y Veytia, Museo Nacional de México facsimile edition, Mexico City, 1907.

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Apr 07th 2014

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Mexicolore replies: They honoured Toci (‘grandmother’), Tlazolteotl, Teteoinnan, Coatlicue, Cinteotl and Chicomecoatl - note several related to maize including the ripe corn deity. This was when the major harvest began. ‘Maize was offered as maize kernels, dough balls and tortillas. These offerings emphasise the transformation of food and illustrate a cycle of continuous change...’ (Elizabeth Morán).