A2Z 24

X for Xiuhtecuhtli. The Aztec god of fire and heat appears in various representations, one of which depicts him as a toothless old man with a stooped back, carrying an enormous brazier on his head. His insignia was the Xiuhcóatl, or serpent of fire, characterized by a nose of horn, decorated with seven stars.

The two festivals of Xiuhtecuhtli coincide with the two extremes in the climatological cycle, the heat of August and the cold of January. Once every 52 years, at the end of a complete cycle in the calendar of the Aztecs, fire was ceremonially transferred first from temple to temple and then from temples to homes. The name of the god derives from the Nahuatl word for turquoise xihuitl, which also means ‘year’ suggesting the god also represented time.



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