Aztec calendar

The Aztec or Mexica 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 calendar consisted of a 365-day calendar cycle called xiuhpōhualli (year count) and a 260-day ritual cycle called tōnalpōhualli (day count). These two cycles together formed a 52-year "century", sometimes called the "calendar round". The xiuhpōhualli is considered to be the agricultural calendar, since it is based on the sun, and the tōnalpōhualli is considered to be the sacred calendar...

Monolito de la Piedra del Sol
The Aztec calendar stone, also called the Sun Stone, on display at the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

Tōnalpōhualli

The tōnalpōhualli ("day count") consists of a cycle of 260 days, each day signified by a combination of a number from 1 to 13, and one of the twenty day signs. With each new day, both the number and day sign would be incremented: 1 Crocodile is followed by 2 Wind, 3 House, 4 Lizard, and so forth up to 13 Reed, after which the cycle of numbers would restart (though the twenty day signs had not yet been exhausted) resulting in 1 Jaguar, 2 Eagle, and so on, as the days immediately following 13 Reed. This cycle of number and day signs would continue similarly until the 20th week, which would start on 1 Rabbit, and end on 13 Flower. It would take a full 260 days (13×20) for the two cycles (of twenty day signs, and thirteen numbers) to realign and repeat the sequence back on 1 Crocodile.

Day signs

The set of day signs used in central Mexico is identical to that used by Mixtecs, and to a lesser degree similar to those of other Mesoamerican calendars. Each of the day signs also bears an association with one of the four cardinal directions.[1][2]

There is some variation in the way the day signs were drawn or carved. Those here were taken from the Codex Magliabechiano.

Image Nahuatl name Pronunciation English translation Direction
Cipactli.jpg Cipactli [siˈpáktɬi] Crocodile
Alligator
Caiman
Crocodilian Monster
Dragon
East
Ehecatl2.jpg Ehēcatl [eʔˈéːkatɬ] Wind North
Calli Calli [ˈkálːi] House West
Cuetzpalin.jpg Cuetzpalin [kʷetsˈpálin̥] Lizard South
Coatl.jpg Cōātl [ˈkóːwaːtɬ] Serpent
Snake
East
Miquiztli.jpg Miquiztli [miˈkístɬi] Death North
Mazatl.jpg Mazātl [ˈmásaːtɬ] Deer
Animal
West
Tochtli Tōchtli [ˈtóːtʃtɬi] Rabbit South
Atl3 Ātl [ˈaːtɬ] Water East
Itzcuintli Itzcuīntli [itsˈkʷíːn̥tɬi] Dog North
Image Nahuatl name Pronunciation English translation Direction
Ozomatli.jpg Ozomahtli [osoˈmáʔtɬi] Monkey West
Malinalli.jpg Malīnalli [maliːˈnálːi] Grass South
Acatl.jpg Ācatl [ˈáːkatɬ] Reed East
Ocelotl Ocēlōtl [oːˈséːloːtɬ] Ocelot
Jaguar
North
Cuauhtli.jpg Cuāuhtli [ˈkʷáːʍtɬi] Eagle West
Cozcacuauhtli.jpg Cōzcacuāuhtli [koːskaˈkʷáːʍtɬi] Vulture South
Olin (Aztec glyph from the Codex Magliabechiano).jpg Ōlīn [ˈoːliːn̥] Movement
Quake
Earthquake
East
Tecpatl.jpg Tecpatl [ˈtékpatɬ] Flint
Flint Knife
North
Quiahuitl.jpg Quiyahuitl [kiˈjáwitɬ] Rain West
Xochitl.jpg Xōchitl [ˈʃoːtʃitɬ] Flower South

Wind and Rain are represented by images of their associated gods, Ehēcatl and Tlāloc respectively.

Other marks on the stone showed the current world and also the worlds before this one. Each world was called a sun, and each sun had its own species of inhabitants. The Aztecs believed that they were in the Fifth Sun and like all of the suns before them they would also eventually perish due to their own imperfections. Every 52 years was marked out because they believed that 52 years was a life cycle and at the end of any given life cycle the gods could take away all that they have and destroy the world.

Trecenas

The 260 days of the sacred calendar were grouped into twenty periods of 13 days each. Scholars usually refer to these thirteen-day "weeks" as trecenas, using a Spanish term derived from trece "thirteen" (just as the Spanish term docena "dozen" is derived from doce "twelve"). The original Nahuatl term is not known.

Each trecena is named according to the calendar date of the first day of the 13 days in that trecena. In addition, each of the twenty trecenas in the 260-day cycle had its own tutelary deity:

Trecena Deity Trecena Deity
1 Crocodile Ōmeteōtl 1 Monkey Patecatl
1 Jaguar Quetzalcoatl 1 Lizard Itztlacoliuhqui
1 Deer Tepēyōllōtl 1 Quake Tlazōlteōtl
1 Flower Huēhuecoyōtl 1 Dog Xīpe Totēuc
1 Reed Chalchiuhtlicue 1 House Itzpapalotl
1 Death Tōnatiuh 1 Vulture Xolotl
1 Rain Tlāloc 1 Water Chalchiuhtotolin
1 Grass Mayahuel 1 Wind Chantico
1 Snake Xiuhtecuhtli 1 Eagle Xōchiquetzal
1 Flint Mictlāntēcutli 1 Rabbit Xiuhtecuhtli

Xiuhpōhualli

In ancient times the year was composed of eighteen months, and thus it was observed by the native people. Since their months were made of no more than twenty days, these were all the days contained in a month, because they were not guided by the moon but by the days; therefore, the year had eighteen months. The days of the year were counted twenty by twenty.

Xiuhpōhualli is the Aztec year (xihuitl) count (pōhualli). One year consists of 360 named days and 5 nameless (nēmontēmi). These 'extra' days are thought to be unlucky. The year was broken into 18 periods of twenty days each, sometimes compared to the Julian month. The Nahuatl word for moon is metztli but whatever name was used for these periods is unknown. Through Spanish usage, the 20-day period of the Aztec calendar has become commonly known as a veintena.

Each 20-day period started on Cipactli (Crocodile) for which a festival was held. The eighteen veintena are listed below. The dates are from early eyewitnesses; each wrote what they saw. Bernardino de Sahagún's date precedes the observations of Diego Durán by several decades and is believed to be more recent to the surrender. Both are shown to emphasize the fact that the beginning of the Native new year became non-uniform as a result of an absence of the unifying force of Tenochtitlan after the Mexica defeat.

# Durán time Sahagún time Fiesta names Symbol English translation
1 Mar 1 – Mar 20 Feb 2 – Feb 21 Atlcahualo, Cuauhitlehua MetzliAtlca.jpg Ceasing of Water, Rising Trees
2 Mar 21 – Apr 9 Feb 22 – Mar 13 Tlacaxipehualiztli MetzliTlaca.jpg Rites of Fertility; Xipe-Totec ("the flayed one")
3 Apr 10 – Apr 29 Mar 14 – Apr 2 Tozoztontli MetzliToz.jpg Lesser Perforation
4 Apr 30 – May 19 Apr 3 – Apr 22 Huey Tozoztli MetzliToz2.jpg Greater Perforation
5 May 20 – Jun 8 Apr 23 – May 12 Tōxcatl MeztliToxcatl.jpg Dryness
6 Jun 9 – Jun 28 May 13 – Jun 1 Etzalcualiztli MeztliEtzal.jpg Eating Maize and Beans
7 Jun 29 – July 18 Jun 2 – Jun 21 Tecuilhuitontli MeztliTecu.jpg Lesser Feast for the Revered Ones
8 July 19 – Aug 7 Jun 22 – Jul 11 Huey Tecuilhuitl MeztliHTecu.jpg Greater Feast for the Revered Ones
9 Aug 8 – Aug 27 Jul 12 – Jul 31 Tlaxochimaco, Miccailhuitontli MeztliMicc.jpg Bestowal or Birth of Flowers, Feast to the Revered Deceased
10 Aug 28 – Sep 16 Aug 1 – Aug 20 Xócotl huetzi, Huey Miccailhuitl MeztliMiccH.jpg Feast to the Greatly Revered Deceased
11 Sept 17 – Oct 6 Aug 21 – Sept 9 Ochpaniztli MeztliOch.jpg Sweeping and Cleaning
12 Oct 7 – Oct 26 Sept 10 – Sept 29 Teotleco MeztliTeo.jpg Return of the Gods
13 Oct 27 – Nov 15 Sept 30 – Oct 19 Tepeilhuitl MeztliTep.jpg Feast for the Mountains
14 Nov 16 – Dec 5 Oct 20 – Nov 8 Quecholli MeztliQue.jpg Precious Feather
15 Dec 6 – Dec 25 Nov 9 – Nov 28 Pānquetzaliztli MeztliPanq.jpg Raising the Banners
16 Dec 26 – Jan 14 Nov 29 – Dec 18 Atemoztli MetzliAtem.jpg Descent of the Water
17 Jan 15 – Feb 3 Dec 19 – Jan 7 Tititl MeztliTitl.jpg Stretching for Growth
18 Feb 4 – Feb 23 Jan 8 – Jan 27 Izcalli MeztliIzcalli.jpg Encouragement for the Land & People
18u Feb 24 – Feb 28 Jan 28 – Feb 1 nēmontēmi (5 day period) MeztliNem.jpg Empty days (no specific activities or holidays)

Xiuhmolpilli

The ancient Mexicans counted their years by means of four signs combined with thirteen numbers, obtaining periods of 52 years,[3] which are commonly known as Xiuhmolpilli, a popular but incorrect name; the correct Nahuatl word for this cycle is Xiuhnelpilli.[4] We can see below the table with the current years:

Tlalpilli Tochtli Tlalpilli Acatl Tlalpilli Tecpatl Tlalpilli Calli
1 tochtli / 1974 1 acatl / 1987 1 tecpatl / 2000 1 calli / 2013
2 acatl / 1975 2 tecpatl / 1988 2 calli / 2001 2 tochtli / 2014
3 tecpatl / 1976 3 calli / 1989 3 tochtli / 2002 3 acatl / 2015
4 calli / 1977 4 tochtli / 1990 4 acatl / 2003 4 tecpatl / 2016
5 tochtli / 1978 5 acatl / 1991 5 tecpatl / 2004 5 calli / 2017
6 acatl / 1979 6 tecpatl / 1992 6 calli / 2005 6 tochtli / 2018
7 tecpatl / 1980 7 calli / 1993 7 tochtli / 2006 7 acatl / 2019
8 calli / 1981 8 tochtli / 1994 8 acatl / 2007 8 tecpatl / 2020
9 tochtli / 1982 9 acatl / 1995 9 tecpatl / 2008 9 calli / 2021
10 acatl / 1983 10 tecpatl / 1996 10 calli / 2009 10 tochtli / 2022
11 tecpatl / 1984 11 calli / 1997 11 tochtli / 2010 11 acatl / 2023
12 calli / 1985 12 tochtli / 1998 12 acatl / 2011 12 tecpatl / 2024
13 tochtli / 1986 13 acatl / 1999 13 tecpatl / 2012 13 calli / 2025

Reconstruction of the Solar calendar

For many centuries scholars had tried to reconstruct the Calendar. The latest and more accepted version was proposed by Professor Rafael Tena of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia,[5] based on the studies of Sahagún and Alfonso Caso of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. His correlation confirms that the first day of the Mexica year was February 13 of the old Julian calendar or February 23 of the current Gregorian calendar. Using the same count, it has been verified the date of the birth of Huitzilopochtli, the end of the year and a cycle or "Tie of the Years", and the New Fire Ceremony, day-sign 1 Tecpatl of the year 2 Acatl,[6] corresponding to the date February 22.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Hill Boone, Elizabeth (2016). Ciclos de tiempo y significado en los libros mexicanos del destino [Cycles of time and meaning in the Mexican books of destiny]. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica. ISBN 9786071635020.
  2. ^ Beuchat, Henri (1918). Manual de arqueología americana [Manual of American Archeology]. Madrid: Daniel Jorro. pp. 349–352.
  3. ^ Tena, 2008: 103. There he shows us a table.
  4. ^ Tena, 2008:9.
  5. ^ The Mexica Calendar and the Chronography, Rafael Tena. INAH-CONACULTA. 2008
  6. ^ Crónica Mexicayotl, Fernando Alvarado Tezozomoc p 36

References

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External links

Atemoztli

Atemoztli is the sixteenth month of the Aztec calendar. It is also a festival in the Aztec religion dedicated to Tlaloc and Tlaloque.

Aztec sun stone

The Aztec sun stone (Spanish: Piedra del Sol) is a late post-classic Mexica sculpture housed in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, and is perhaps the most famous work of Aztec sculpture. The stone is 358 centimetres (141 in) in diameter and 98 centimetres (39 in) thick, and it weighs about 24 short tons (21.4 long tons; 21.8 t). Shortly after the Spanish conquest, the monolithic sculpture was buried in the Zócalo, the main square of Mexico City. It was rediscovered on 17 December 1790 during repairs on the Mexico City Cathedral. Following its rediscovery, the sun stone was mounted on an exterior wall of the Cathedral, where it remained until 1885. Early scholars initially thought that the stone was carved in the 1470s, though modern research suggests that it was carved some time between 1502 and 1521.

Chiconcuac de Juárez

Chiconcuac de Juárez, typically referred to simply as Chiconcuac, is a town and municipio (municipality) in the state of Mexico, approximately 10 kilometers north of Texcoco de Mora. The name Chiconcuac derives from the Aztec word Chicome Coatl, “Seven snakes”, which was a date on the Aztec calendar.

Etzalcualiztli

Etzalcualiztli is the name of the sixth month of the Aztec calendar. It is also a festival in the Aztec religion dedicated to Tlaloc and Chalchihuitlicue.

Huey Tozoztli

Huey Tozoztli also known as Huey Tocoztli is the name of the fourth month of the Aztec calendar. It is also a festival in the Aztec religion dedicated to Tlaloc and other deities. It is called the great or long vigil.

Itztapaltotec

In Aztec religion, Itztapaltotec (sometimes spelled Iztapaltotec) is an aspect of the fertility god Xipe Totec. In the Aztec calendar, he is one of the patrons of the trecena beginning with the day One Rabbit (ce tochtli in Nahuatl), alongside Xiuhtecuhtli, the god of fire. Xipe Totec proper is the patron of the trecena beginning with the day One Dog (ce itzcuintli). Itztapaltotec is an obscure figure, known only from tonalamatl (calendars). Brief, confusing information about him is given in two related manuscripts, the Codex Telleriano-Remensis and the Codex Ríos (or Codex Vaticanus A).

Itztapaltotec is probably related to Itztli, another figure of the Aztec calendar also depicted as a personified knife.

Itztlacoliuhqui

In Aztec mythology, Itztlacoliuhqui is the god of frost. He also represents matter in its lifeless state.

The Nahuatl name Itztlacoliuhqui is usually translated into English as "Curved Obsidian Blade". J. Richard Andrews contends that this is a mistranslation, and that the correct interpretation is "Everything Has Become Bent by Means of Coldness", or "Plant-Killer-Frost".In the Aztec calendar, Itztlacoliuhqui is the lord of the thirteen days from 1 Lizard to 13 Vulture. The preceding thirteen days are ruled over by Patecatl, and the following thirteen by Tlazolteotl.

The creation of this god appeared in the Aztec myth of creation. Tonatiuh, the Sun god, demanded obedience and sacrifice from the other gods before he will move. Enraged at his arrogance, the god of dawn and the planet Venus, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, shoots an arrow at the Sun. However, the dart misses its mark, and the Sun throws his own back at the morning star, piercing the Lord of Dawn through the head. At this moment, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli is transformed into the god of obsidian stone and coldness, Itztlacoliuhqui.

Itztlacoliuhqui is a part of a holy trinity of birth, life, and death. He takes the place of death in this particular trinity. Birth is taken by Tezcatlipoca and life by Itzpapalotl, Itztlacoliuhqui's female counterpart.

Itztlacoliuhqui's iconography depicts a straw broom (tlachpānōni) in his hand, symbolizing the function of this wintry death deity as the cleaner of the way for new life to emerge thereafter.

Izcalli

Izcalli is the name of the Eighteenth and last month of the Aztec calendar. It is also a festival in the Aztec religion, the principal deity is Xiuhtecuhtli the fire God and old People are honored this month and is known as Rebirth Month.

Lords of the Day

In Aztec mythology the Lords of the Day (Classical Nahuatl: Tonalteuctin) are a set of thirteen gods that ruled over a particular day corresponding to one of the thirteen heavens. They were cyclical, so that the same god recurred every thirteen days. In the Aztec calendar, the lords of the day are

Xiuhtecuhtli, god of fire and time.

Tlaltecuhtli, god of the earth.

Chalchiuhtlicue, goddess of water, lakes, rivers, seas, streams, horizontal waters, storms and baptism.

Tonatiuh, god of the sun.

Tlazolteotl, goddess of lust, carnality, sexual misdeeds.

Mictlantecuhtli, god of the underworld.

Centeotl, goddess of maize. Also recognized as Chicomecoatl, goddess of agriculture.

Tlaloc, god of the thunder, rain and earthquakes.

Quetzalcoatl, god of wisdom, life, knowledge, morning star, fertility, patron of the winds and the light, the lord of the West.

Tezcatlipoca, god of providence, matter and the invisible, ruler of the night, Great Bear, impalpable, ubiquity and the twilight, the lord of the North.

Mictecacihuatl, goddess of the underworld.

Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, god of dawn.

Citlalicue, goddess of the female stars (Milky Way).

Nēmontēmi

In the Aztec culture, the Nahuatl word nēmontēmi refers to a period of five intercalary days inserted between years of the Aztec calendar. Each of the 18 Aztec "months" had 20 days, for a total of 360 days. The nēmontēmi accounted for the remaining 5 days of the approximate tropical year. According to the research by R. C. Tunnicliffe, the Aztecs dealt with the remaining fractional-day discrepancy with the true tropical year length by adding a trecena (13 days) after each bundle of 52 years; these 13 days were not considered unlucky, but they were not characterized by the features (numbers and symbols) of the Aztec calendar.The word nēmontēmi means "days of reflection" Spanish lexicographers glossed it as dias baldios, "wasted days". They were considered to bring ill fortune, and most activities (including even cooking) were avoided if possible during the nēmontēmi. This is however, incorrect.

People take time to reflect on the past year during these days and often includes a period of fasting.

Patecatl

In Aztec mythology, Patecatl is a god of healing and fertility, and the discoverer of peyote as well as the "lord of the root of pulque ". With Mayahuel, he was the father of the Centzon Totochtin.In the Aztec calendar, Patecatl is the lord of the thirteen days from 1 Monkey to 13 House. The preceding thirteen days are ruled over by Mictlantecuhtli, and the following thirteen by Itztlacoliuhqui.

Pānquetzaliztli

Panquetzaliztli is the name of the fifteenth month of the Aztec calendar. It is also a festival in the Aztec religion dedicated to Huitzilopochtli.

The correlation of Rafael Tena places the 20-day month last from November 30 to December 19.

Tepeilhuitl

Tepeilhuitl is the name of the thirteenth month of the Aztec calendar. It is also a festival in the Aztec religion dedicated to Popocatepetl, Iztaccihuatl and Tlaloc. It is called the festival or feast of the Mountains.

Tlāhuizcalpantecuhtli

Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli is a principal member of the pantheon of gods within the Aztec religion, representing the Morning Star Venus. The name comes from the Nahuatl words tlāhuizcalpan [t͡ɬaːwisˈkaɬpan] "dawn" and tecuhtli [ˈtekʷt͡ɬi] "lord". Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli is one of the thirteen Lords of the Day, representing the 12th day of the Aztec trecena.

Tozoztontli

Tozoztontli is the name of the third month of the Aztec calendar. It means Little Perforation. It is also a festival in the Aztec religion, the deities are Centeotl, Tlaloque, Chicomecoatl and Coatlicue. It marks the end of the dry season.It is the season of bird sacrifices and is called The Little Vigil.

Tōnatiuh

In Mesoamerican culture, Tonatiuh (Nahuatl: Ōllin Tōnatiuh [oːlːin toːˈnatiʍ] "Movement of the Sun") was as an Aztec sun deity of the day sky and ruled the cardinal direction of east. According to Aztec Mythology, Tonatiuh was known as "The Fifth Sun" and was given a calendar name of naui olin, which means "4 Movement". Represented as a fierce and warlike god, he is first seen in Early Postclassic art of the Pre-Columbian civilisation known as the Toltec. Tonatiuh's symbolic association with the eagle alludes to the Aztec belief of his journey as the present sun, travelling across the sky each day, where he descended in the west and ascended in the east. It was thought that his journey was sustained by the daily sacrifice of humans. His Nahuatl name can also be translated to "He Who Goes Forth Shining" or "He Who Makes The Day." Tonatiuh was though to be the central deity on the Aztec Calendar Stone but is no longer identified as such. In Toltec culture, Tonatiuh is often associated with Quetzalcoatl in his manifestation as the morning star aspect of the planet Venus.

Tōxcatl

Toxcatl (Nahuatl pronunciation: [ˈtoːʃkat͡ɬ]) was the name of the fifth twenty-day month or "veintena" of the Aztec calendar which lasted from approximately the 5th to 22 May and of the festival which was held every year in this month. The Festival of Toxcatl was dedicated to the god Tezcatlipoca and featured the sacrifice of a young man who had been impersonating the deity for a full year.

The Toxcatl Massacre, a turning point in the Spanish conquest of Mexico, occurred when the Spaniards who were tolerated as guests in Tenochtitlan attacked and massacred the unprepared Aztecs during the celebration of Toxcatl. This caused the outbreak of open hostilities between the Aztecs and Spaniards, and during the Noche Triste a few weeks later the Spaniards fled the city.

Veintena

A veintena is the Spanish-derived name for a 20-day period used in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican calendars. The division is often casually referred to as a "month", although it is not coordinated with the lunar cycle. The term is most frequently used with respect to the 365-day Aztec calendar, the xiuhpohualli, although 20-day periods are also used in the 365-day Maya calendar (the Mayan tun), as well as by other Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Zapotec and Mixtec.

The 365-day cycle is divided into 18 veintenas of 20 days each, giving 360 days; an additional 5 "nameless days" or nemontemi are appended to bring the total to 365.The name used for these periods in pre-Columbian times is unknown. In Nahuatl, the word for "twenty days" is cempōhualilhuitl [sempoːwalˈilwit͡ɬ] from the words cempōhualli [sempoːˈwalːi] "twenty" and ilhuitl [ˈilwit͡ɬ] "day". Through Spanish usage, the 20-day period of the Aztec calendar has become commonly known as a veintena. The Aztec word for moon is metztli, and this word is today to describe these 20-day periods, although as the sixteenth-century missionary and early ethnographer, Diego Durán explained:

In ancient times the year was composed of eighteen months, and thus it was observed by these Indian people. Since their months were made of no more than twenty days, these were all the days contained in a month, because they were not guided by the moon but by the days; therefore, the year had eighteen months. The days of the year were counted twenty by twenty.

Each 20-day period started on a Cipactli (Crocodile) day of the tonalpohualli for which a festival was held. The eighteen veintena are listed below. The dates in the chart are from the early eyewitnesses, Diego Durán and Bernardino de Sahagún. Each wrote what they learned from Nahua informants. Sahagún's date precedes the Durán's observations by several decades and is believed to be more recent to the Aztec surrender to the Spanish. Both are shown to emphasize the fact that the beginning of the Native new year became non-uniform as a result of an absence of the unifying force of Tenochtitlan after the Mexica defeat.

Xiuhpōhualli

The Xiuhpōhualli (Nahuatl pronunciation: [ʃiwpoːˈwalːi], from xihuitl + pōhualli) 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 mētztli (the contemporary Nahuatl word for month) with a separate 5-day period at the end of the year called the nemontemi. Whatever name that was used for these periods in pre-Columbian times is unknown. Through Spanish usage, the 20-day period of the Aztec calendar has become commonly known as a veintena. The Aztec word for moon is mētztli, and this word is today to describe these 20-day periods, although as the sixteenth-century missionary and early ethnographer, Diego Durán explained:

In ancient times the year was composed of eighteen months, and thus it was observed by these Indian people. Since their months were made of no more than twenty days, these were all the days contained in a month, because they were not guided by the moon but by the days; therefore, the year had eighteen months. The days of the year were counted twenty by twenty.

The xiuhpōhualli calendar, (in history known as the "vague year" which means no leap day) had its antecedents in form and function in earlier Mesoamerican calendars, and the 365-day count has a long history of use throughout the region. The Maya civilization version of the xiuhpōhualli is known as the haab', and 20-days period was the uinal. The Maya equivalent of nemontemi is wayeb'. In common with other Mesoamerican cultures the Aztecs also used a separate 260-day calendar (Classical Nahuatl: tonalpōhualli). The Maya equivalent of the tonalpōhualli is the tzolk'in. Together, these calendars would coincide once every 52 years, the so-called "calendar round," which was initiated by a New Fire ceremony.

Aztec years were named for the last day of the 18th month according to the 260-day calendar the tonalpōhualli. The first year of the Aztec calendar round was called 2 Acatl and the last 1 Tochtli. The solar calendar was connected to agricultural practices and held an important place in Aztec religion, with each month being associated with its own particular religious and agricultural festivals.

Each 20-day period started on a Cipactli (Crocodile) day of the tonalpōhualli for which a festival was held. The eighteen veintena are listed below. The dates in the chart are from the early eyewitnesses, Diego Durán and Bernardino de Sahagún. Each wrote what they learned from Nahua informants. Sahagún's date precedes the Durán's observations by several decades and is believed to be more recent to the Aztec surrender to the Spanish. Both are shown to emphasize the fact that the beginning of the Native new year became non-uniform as a result of an absence of the unifying force of Tenochtitlan after the Mexica defeat.

The 20-day months (veintenas) of the Aztec solar calendar were called (in two sequences):

Izcalli

Atlcahualo or Xilomanaliztli

Tlacaxipehualiztli

Tozoztontli

Hueytozoztli

Toxcatl or Tepopochtli

Etzalcualiztli

Tecuilhuitontli

Hueytecuilhuitl

Tlaxochimaco or Miccailhuitontli

Xocotlhuetzi or Hueymiccailhuitl

Ochpaniztli

Teotleco or Pachtontli

Tepeilhuitl or Hueypachtli

Quecholli

Panquetzaliztli

Atemoztli

TititlThe five days inserted at the end of a year and which were considered unlucky:

NemontemiNote: Aztec years were named for the last day of their fourth month according to the 260-day calendar, the tonalpohualli.

Systems
Nearly universal
In wide use
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limited use
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By specialty
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Year naming
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numbering

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