Dawn dyes the contour of the mountains red. A perfumed, warm breeze dominates the air. Dew slides through the branches of trees and the petals of countless flowers. Far away, the ancestral sound of a sea snail’s conch is heard. That is how the Aztec Empire awoke.
The Aztecs worked hard to build their city and were then able to enjoy every day in their beautiful and colorful Tenochtitlan. They themselves erected their capital over an islet and made it flourish until they extended their power to the borders of the Anahuac valley.
With impressive tenacity and creativity, they founded their capital over a marshy lake. They used what we call chinampas, which were inter-woven trunks or branches 2.5 meters in diameter, and on them, they would pile mud from the bottom of the lake. Then they were able to use this “land” to plant crops in.
They placed these chinampas in a fixed position by planting a type of tree whose roots anchored at the bottom of the lake. The chinampas were actual “floating gardens”, much like what exists today in Xochimilco.
Ever since they discovered agriculture, the Aztecs called themselves “Agricultural Warriors”, as only a war could call them away from their beloved land. They dedicated 200 days of the year to taking care of their crops, corn, beans, squash and other vegetables. The other 165 days were dedicated to resting, though not to vacation.
During this period of rest, each member of the family worked on a particular type of craft; the men usually dedicated themselves to pottery and the making of sandals; the women in the making of the family’s clothing. This way they relaxed and they allowed the land to rest as well so that it would continue being so generous to them.