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Exploring the Significance of Cuauhtli in Aztec Culture

Cuauhtli, meaning eagle, is an auspicious day in the sacred Aztec calendar, commemorating the Eagle Warriors of the Aztec army. It’s a day of fighting for one’s rights, freedom, and equality. Cuauhtli is a highly significant symbol in Aztec culture and even today, it continues to be used Mexico.

The Aztec day sign cuauhtli
The Aztec day sign cuauhtli

What is Cuauhtli?

The Aztecs had a sacred calendar which they called the ‘tonalpohualli’, meaning the ‘counting of the days’. This had 260 days in total, which were broken down into 20 units (or trecenas), with 13 days in each unit. Each day had a name and a symbol to represent it, as well as a god who governed it.

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Cuauhtli is the first day of the 15th trecena in the Aztec calendar, associated with equality and freedom. The word ‘cuauhtli’ means ‘eagle’ or ‘men’ in Maya, referring to the Eagle Warriors of the Aztec army. Along with the jaguar warriors, they were some of the bravest and most noble soldiers and were also the most feared.

Importance of Cuauhtli

Cuauhtli is a day dedicated to the Eagle Warriors of the central deity of the Aztec religion, Huitzilopochtli. He is associated with the sun, war, and human sacrifice, and was also the patron of the Aztec city Tenochtitlan and the tribal god of the Aztecs of Tenochtitlan. The Eagle Warriors willingly sacrifice their lives to keep the Fifth Sol (or the present age) moving, which is why this day was set aside to honor them.

The Aztecs considered Cuauhtli a good day to take action and a bad day to reflect on their actions. It was also regarded as a good day for invoking the aid of their gods but was thought to be a bad day to ignore them. It was believed that anyone who ignored the gods on Cuauhtli would suffer the consequences of their actions.

The Governing God of Cuauhtli

The day Cuauhtli is governed by Xipe Totec, the Mesoamerican god of new vegetation, agriculture, goldsmiths, silversmiths, liberation, the seasons, and spring. He was also the provider of life energy, known as tonalli. The Toltecs and Aztecs venerated this deity who was often depicted wearing the freshly flayed skin of a human victim.

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Use of the Cuauhtli Symbol Today

Today, cuauhtlisymbolizes the Aztec culture and is an important part of Mexican tradition. As a symbol, it’s used to denote strength, competitiveness, and aggressiveness. It also serves as a reminder of the ancient Mexican culture. A cuauhtli is also used by the Mexican airline AeroMexico as its logo and it can also be seen featured in the center of the Mexican flag.

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Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.