Hueytecuilthuitli, Great Festival of the Lords, the Eighth 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, depicts a boy, dressed as the goddess Xilonen, shown wearing a cloak, a plume of quetzal feathers, and a headdress. Above his head is a head wearing a green stone necklace and at his feet is a lion. The text describes this month as being the feast of the more important lords and chiefs, which is celebrated with greater ostentation than the previous one. Identified as July with the astrological symbol of Leo, the month is called Hueytecuilthuitli (Great Festival of the Lords). It was dedicated to Xilonen, whose name signified ear of young corn. She was also known as Chicomecoatl (Seven Serpents) and was the goddess of maize and fertility.

Last updated: October 26, 2012