It’s August, and that means summer is in full swing and the sun is high in the sky. Today, we’re introducing ourselves to Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec Sun God. Over generations, Huitzilopochtli’s influence can be seen in Mexican history, tradition, and cooking — from our country’s flag to spicy candy and everything in between!
How do you pronounce Huitzilopochtli?
All right, take a deep breath: The name Huitzilopochtli is pronounced “weet-see-luh-POWCH-tuh-lee.”
His name comes from the Nahuatl words for “hummingbird” and “left” (or “South”). This is because the Aztecs believed hummingbirds were the reincarnated souls of fallen warriors. So, when you put the words together, Huitzilopochtli means “reincarnated warrior of the south.” Some other names you may have heard are Totec (“Our Lord” in Nahuatl) or Xiuhpilli, the Turquoise Prince.
Who is Huitzilopochtli?
Have you ever heard of the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli? Huitzilopochtli — also known as Uitzilopochtli, Xiuhpilli, or Totec — is the Aztec god of war and the sun. Along with his brother Tezcatlipoca (the god of night), the weather god Tlaloc, and the god of life Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli is one of the four most significant Aztec gods.
Born from a ball of hummingbird feathers that fell from the sky, Huitzilopochtli was immediately targeted by his sister, the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui, and his brothers, the stars of the southern sky. They tried to assassinate him, but Huitzilopochtli fought back with his sacred weapon, the xiuh coatl, or “turquoise snake.” (That’s where the whole “Turquoise Prince” thing comes from!)
Huitzilopochtli is known as the deity who guided the Aztecs from their ancestral home to the Valley of Mexico. In his honor, the Aztecs built their capital city, Tenochtitlán. There in the city, the Aztecs built an elaborate shrine to Huitzilopochtli, featuring his holy symbol — an eagle — perched on a rock while he enjoys a tasty snack: a snake.
Why is Huitzilopochtli significant to Mexican culture?
If that last image sounds familiar to you, it’s because you’ve seen it on the Mexican flag! Huitzilopochtli’s eagle devouring the snake has become a symbol of Mexican culture and history. And if you’ve ever heard the phrase “people of the sun” used to describe ancient Aztecs, that’s all because of their devotion to Huitzilopochtli.
In both ancient and modern Mexican folk art, you can find Huitzilopochtli as a hummingbird or as a warrior, with a helmet and armor made from hummingbird feathers. His colors of blue and black — turquoise, to be specific — are often featured as well.
Today, we don’t often eat snakes, but the symbol of Huitzilopochtli’s eagle and snake is very familiar in our history. Possibly even more familiar, however, is the hummingbird — this little bird, considered the reincarnation of a fallen warrior, is another major symbol of Huitzilopochtli. There’s a lovely symbolism here: Many people consider a hummingbird fluttering nearby to be the soul of a loved one who has passed away, letting you know they’re still there for you.
What do you know about Huitzilopochtli or his famous Aztec family?
For more insights into Mexico’s history and culture — especially our beloved candy culture — keep up with us on the blog. In honor of the man of the hour, we’re introducing two new Aztec-inspired candies as part of our August variety box!
The spicy and fruity Mara Molcajetes Lollipops combine delicious fruity tamarindo and a healthy dose of Mexican candy spice. Or if you’d rather make a financial “sacrifice” to Huitzilopochtli, grab a few packs of these Nucita Chocolate Coins!
You can pick up one of our variety boxes to try out both of these Aztec-inspired candies along with a little taste of everything. If you already know what you’re looking for, check out the Sale section to find some of your familiar favorites for a fraction of the price!