Rituals and Sacrifices of the Aztecs Oct 15, 2013 21:38:30 GMT -5
Post by Joanna on Oct 15, 2013 21:38:30 GMT -5
Rituals and Sacrifices of the Aztecs
The Aztecs were an ethnic group of people who supposedly originated from a mythical place called Aztlan. The main source of our knowledge about the history and culture of the Aztecs is through written descriptions dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries from eyewitness accounts by Spanish conquistadors, archeological discoveries and paper codices. The Aztecs practiced elaborate mythical traditions and rituals and their knowledge of architecture and the arts was astounding. The Aztec mythology and gods are vast and fascinating topics and there is a lot of written material about them.
Facts about Aztec Rituals
• As a ritual, the Aztec priests painted themselves black to let the people know they were true priests.
• Another unusual ritual was that whenever the Aztecs captured a new city, they added all the gods of the city to their religion, so their religion frequently welcomed new members.
• The Aztecs followed a strange ritual of burying dead family members inside their homes.
• Another strange ritual involved specially-elected people who dressed up and impersonated a specific deity after which they were killed and sacrificed to that particular god.
• They believed the gods wanted sacrifices in return for favors, so the sacrifice often depended on the favor requested. For really important favors, requesters often cut off their own ears, tongues and sometimes even their genitals.
• When a female child was born, she was adorned with a pot, spindle and washing stone while the priest chanted: "Your role will be that of wife and mother to future warriors," to her and the midwife who assisted at her birth in order to summon the goddess Yoalticitl to bless her.
• When a boy was born, he was adorned with a bow, arrows and a miniature chest shield while the priest chanted: "You have come into this world to give the sun, the blood of his enemies to drink and to feed the soil with their bodies," after which the midwife raised him toward the sun four times.
• The ritual of sacrificing humans stemmed from the Aztecs' belief that their gods would abandon them if they did not get "precious water," i.e., blood, from their people.
• Human sacrifice stemmed from the belief that the three main Aztec gods – Huitzilopochtli, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca – sacrificed themselves and offered their hearts to the sun. Accordingly, the Aztecs believed if they failed to perform the sacrifices, the sun would not rise the next day.
• Women were allowed to become priests as long as they didn't get married and they could leave the priesthood whenever they wished.
• If a poor person dressed in the manner of the rich and affluent, he was punished by having his house demolished. If he were found guilty of such a transgression a second time, he was executed. Continued
Sources: The Aztecs and History of the Aztecs.