, a Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...
word meaning "count of days", is a 260-day sacred period (often termed a "year") in use in pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...
, especially among the Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...
s. This calendrical period is neither solar nor lunar, but rather consists of 20 trecena
A trecena is a 13-day period used in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican calendars. The 260-day calendar was divided into 20 trecenas. Trecena is derived from the Spanish chroniclers and translates to 'a group of thirteen' in the same way that a dozen relates to the number twelve...
, or 13-day periods. Each trecena is dedicated to and under the auspices of a different deity.
In part due to the sheer antiquity of the tonalpohualli
, its origin is unknown. Several theories have been advanced for this unique calendrical period: that it represents a Venus
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows...
ian cycle, that it represents the human gestation
Gestation is the carrying of an embryo or fetus inside a female viviparous animal. Mammals during pregnancy can have one or more gestations at the same time ....
period, or that it represents the number of days when the sun is not overhead between August 12 and April 30 in the tropical lowlands. On the other hand, some scholars including J. E. S. Thompson suggest that the tonalpohualli
was not based on natural phenomenon at all, but rather on the integers 13 and 20, both considered important numbers in Mesoamerica.
The other major Aztec calendar
The Aztec calendar is the calendar system that was used by the Aztecs as well as other Pre-Columbian peoples of central Mexico. It is one of the Mesoamerican calendars, sharing the basic structure of calendars from throughout ancient Mesoamerica....
, the xiuhpohualli
The Xiuhpohualli was a 365-day calendar used by the Aztecs and other pre-Columbian Nahua peoples in central Mexico. It was composed of eighteen 20-day "months," called veintenas or metzli with a separate 5 day period at the end of the year called the nemontemi...
, is a solar calendar, based on 18 months of 20 days. A xiuhpohualli
was designated by the name of its first tonalpohualli
day. For example, Hernan Cortes
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...
met Moctezuma II
Moctezuma , also known by a number of variant spellings including Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigning from 1502 to 1520...
on the day 8 Wind in the year 1 Reed (or November 8, 1519 in the Julian calendar
The Julian calendar began in 45 BC as a reform of the Roman calendar by Julius Caesar. It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year .The Julian calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months...
and the tonalpohualli
would coincide every 52 years. The "year" 1 Reed was the 1st in that 52 year cycle.
In the Aztec calendar, there are twenty day signs.
Cipactli 'Crocodile' or 'Caiman', was the first day of the Aztec divinatory count of 13 X 20 days , and Cipactonal 'Sign of Cipactli' was considered to have been the first diviner. In Aztec cosmology, the crocodile symbolized the earth floating in the primeval waters...
|Caiman or aquatic monster
Ehecatl is a pre-Columbian deity associated with the wind, who features in Aztec mythology and the mythologies of other cultures from the central Mexico region of Mesoamerica. He is most usually interpreted as the aspect of the Feathered Serpent deity as a god of wind, and is therefore also known...
Çallı is a village and municipality in the Zardab Rayon of Azerbaijan. It has a population of 2,265....
- Geography :* Atlanta, United States** Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport * Attleborough railway station, its National Rail code- Media :* ATL , a 2006 film set in the city of Atlanta, Georgia, USA...
||Ocelot or Jaguar
||Movement or Earthquake
||Flint or Knife
Gallery of Day Signs
Note that the symbols are arranged counterclockwise around the calendar round.