Tepeilhuitl, Festival of the Hills, the 13th 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. In this illustration, from the third section, a woman's head is shown upon the sign for a mountain. The head wears a headdress with green feathers and a necklace with blue beads and gold pendants. Above it is a recumbent head of a woman which is topped by a large flower and circled by golden feathers. The text describes the ceremonies honoring the hills, in which representations of hills are adorned with faces. This month, identified as that of Luke the Evangelist, is called Tepeilhuitl (Festival of the Hills). This month was dedicated to Tlaloc, the god of rain, but the headdress of the head upon the mountain resembles that of Xochiquetzal (Flower Feather), goddess of the earth, love, artists, pregnant women, and the moon, who is sometimes named the wife of Tlaloc. The recumbent head above her with its flower may also allude to Xochiquetzal.

Last updated: October 26, 2012