Quahuitlehua, Raising of the Trees, the First Month of the Aztec Solar Calendar


The Tovar Codex, attributed to the 16th-century Mexican Jesuit Juan de Tovar, contains detailed information about the rites and ceremonies of the Aztecs (also known as Mexica). The codex is illustrated with 51 full-page paintings in watercolor. Strongly influenced by pre-contact pictographic manuscripts, the paintings are of exceptional artistic quality. The manuscript is divided into three sections. The first section is a history of the travels of the Aztecs prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The second section is an illustrated history of the Aztecs. The third section contains the Tovar calendar, which records a continuous Aztec calendar with months, weeks, days, dominical letters, and church festivals of a Christian 365-day year. This illustration, from the third section, shows a banner of red and white stripes on a red mast, adorned with a crest of many colored feathers, with bundles of corn and fruits, and a square with two fish. This month is identified as February and is called Quahuitlehua (Raising of the Trees, or Ceasing of the Waters). It was also known as Atlcahualo, Atlcualo, Xilomaniztli, Cohuailhuitl, Atlmotzacuaya, or Xochzitzquilo. This month was dedicated to Tlaloc, the god of rain, to whom children were sacrificed by drowning, although the commentary here does not mention this ritual.

Last updated: October 26, 2012