The Legend of Maize

 

An ancient legend tells the story that before the arrival of the god Quetzalcoatl, the Aztecs only consumed roots and game animals; they did not eat corn because it was beyond their reach, hidden behind the massive mountains surrounding the city.

 

 The other gods had already sought to part the mountains for the Aztecs to gain access to this precious food, but they never succeeded.

 

The Aztec people sent their priests to ask Quetzalcoatl to help them get the corn. He answered them that he would go and bring them back this precious food.

All of the other gods had already tried to move the mountains by using force, Quetzalcoatl decided to use something more powerful… intelligence.

 

 Quetzalcoatl was transformed into a small black ant and in the company of a red made his way toward the mountains.

 The path presented many difficulties, but one by one he overcame them, determined to move forward by the thought of helping the Aztec people.

After several days, Quetzalcoatl arrived at the back of the mountains where he found the corn and, being an ant, took a grain between his teeth and began his journey back.

 

Once he returned to his people, he handed over the grain of corn to be planted.

From that day onward, the Aztecs were devoted to cultivating and harvesting the corn plant and thus become a strong people, full of riches and achieving an impressive development of beautiful cities, temples, and palaces.

 

The Legend of Cocoa The Legend of Chocolate

 


Mexican culture is rich in history and traditions, many reflected in legends, fables and myths.  Here follows the legend of cocoa-chocolate and the mythical god Quetzalcoatl.

This ancient legend recounts the story of how the god Quetzalcoatl gave the Toltecs precious cocoa grains.  This generous god wanted his people to be well fed and by being healthy dedicate themselves to improve and be the best people they could be, studious, knowledgable, generous  artistically talented. 

 

Quetzalcoatl The Plumed Serpent

It is said that  Quetzalcóatl stole the cocoa tree form paradise where all the other gods lived and he planted the small bush in Tula, Mexico. 
Quetzalcoatl

After planting the small tree he asked Tlaloc, the god of water to send rain to the area so the plant could thrive and grow. 

Later he visited Xochiquetzal,  the goddess of love and beauty and  requested she would give the tree beautiful flowers. In time the small tree flowered and produced the coca fruit. 

Continue reading The Legend of Cocoa The Legend of Chocolate

The Legend of Coatlicue & Coyolxauhqui


Aztec legend recounts the story of Coatlicue, the goddess of life and death and the mother of the Four Hundred Southerners, Centzon Huitznahuas, gods of the Southern Stars and Coyolxauhqui who ruled over her brothers.

Coatlicue, lived in Coatepec, where she did penance sweeping. One day while sweeping, a beautiful feather fell from the sky, she picked it up and placed it on her breast.

When she finished sweeping she looked for the feather and couldn’t find it.  She then realized she was pregnant.

 

The Four Southerners were enraged to learn that their mother was pregnant.  Their sister Coyolxauhqui, convinced them that their mother had dishonored them all and should die to pay for this affront.

 

Coatlicue was very scared and sad, but her son Huitzilopochtli, who was in her womb, told her not to fear because he would protect her.

 

She felt comforted and calmed her heart.

Meanwhile, Coyolxauhqui and her brothers planned the revenge against their mother. Cuahuitlicac, one of the brothers went looking for her and Huitzilopochtli to tell them  of their terrible plans.

The Four Southerners led by Coyolxauhqui, then headed toward the mountain, ready to kill thier mother, but again Cuahuitlicac  was able to inform them that the warriors were already on their way.

 

From the moment he was born Huitzilopochtli, instantly became an adult; he took a shield of eagle feathers, arrows and turquoise darts.

 

Huitzilopochtli painted his arms and legs blue, he drew diagonal stripes on his face and on his head he placed a crown of feathers; he wore on the right foot a feathered sandal.

 

Using a snake he controlled as a weapon he managed to wound his sister Coyolxauhqui and then cut off her head; her body rolled down and was falling apart completely dismembered.

 

Huitzilopochtli furious threw her head to the sky and thus it became the moon.

He then chased down the Four Southerners, from the top of Coatepetl to the foot of the mountain. They didn’t have a chance against their powerful brother.

Many of them begged for forgiveness, but only a few escaped his ire and were able to survive.

Those who escaped headed south where they became stars.

 

* In the Nahua mythology, Coyolxauhqui goddess of the moon, was the daughter of the mother goddess Coatlicue and regent of Centzonhuitznahua, brothers and star gods.

* Coatlicue in the Nahua mythology is the goddess of fertility, patron of life and death, rebirth, the mother of Huitzilopochtli.

La Llorona One Woman, Many Stories


Spanish

The eve of the conquest of Mexico -Tenochtitlan by Hernan Cortes and his Spanish army was plagued by omens that Miguel Leon–Portilla enumerates in his book, “Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico”. 

 Based on codices as well as from memories of the period, Portilla describes a woman who the natives called Cihuacoatl (the serpent woman), who wandered among the temples of the great ‘Mexica’ capital announcing a tragedy

“O-h-h, my children, the time for our departure draws near. O-h-h-h, my children! Where shall I take you?”

However, it was during the colonial days when the legend of the weeping woman gained the necessary strength to filter into Mexican folklore, and although there are innumerable versions as to the origin of this macabre and heartrending cry, the most popular one is told in detail herein:

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Every night at eleven, when the curfew sounded in the capital of New Spain, the inhabitants would shut themselves in their houses of mud and stone. The streets were left deserted. It was then that the darkness and the silence were torn by the long and distressing wails of a woman. “Oh, my children”, she repeated monotonously, causing even the bravest hearts to shudder.

Those who dared to look out from their windows managed to see the silhouette of a woman dressed in white, floating above the street’s stone pavement; she would stop at the city’s Main Square. Later, the ghostly figure would head in the direction of Texcoco Lake, where she’d disappear with the first rays of the dawn.

But, just who was this woman whose face could not be discerned? Why did she cry so pitifully? According to the story, there was once a beautiful native woman who fell deeply in love with a Spanish gentleman. The gentleman felt a great passion for her, but relations between a nobleman and an Indian woman was positively regarded with disapproval, so he maintained his romance with her in secret. Three children were born to the mother, who adored and tirelessly cared for them.

The Legend of Our Lady of Solitude & the Mule

 

An ancient story recounts the story of Oaxaca’s Our Lady of Solitude.

Legend has it that in 1620 a mule driver, guiding his mulas, mules train through the streets of Oaxaca on his way to Guatemala, suddenly discovered he had an extra animal, carrying a huge box on his back.

Outside the San Sebastian hermitage, the mule collapsed under the burden it was carrying. The mule driver unsuccessfully tried to get her on her feet. Finally, in order to avoid being punished he alerted the authorities who lifted the box. The burro stood up and immediately died.

The  officials were curious to see what was inside this box. They opened it and found inside the image of the Blessed Virgin of Solitude accompanied by Christ on it, along with a sign that said, The Virgin by the Cross.

This amazing event motivated Bishop Bartolome Bojorquez to order a sanctuary built in honor of the divinity.

Tourists who visit Oaxaca find a large boulder at the entrance marking the spot where the mula died from the weight of the box.

Our Lady of Solitude is the patroness of Oaxaca.  Every December 18, Oaxaqueños celebrate the day of the Queen of Oaxaca and is carried through the streets of the city on many religious celebrations.

The Many Faces of Quetzalcoatl


Read it in Spanish

Quetzalcoatl, one of the main deities of pre-Hispanic civilizations, is present in most of 15th-century Mesoamerica. From the beginning, he has been attributed countless mysteries: he is considered a man, a deity, a priest, a myth or a legend.

 

The origin of his name comes from the Nahuatl and means Quetzal: a bird of beautiful plumage and Coatl, which means snake, resulting in what is commonly known as “the Plumed Serpent.”  

 

This deity was one of the most popular in Hispanic tradition and refers to the union of terrestrial and rain waters, which, among agricultural peoples, was essential for their survival, thus signifying the origin of life itself.

 

There are countless representations in history and art of Quetzalcoatl. Here we will feature a few of the most representative or interesting portrayals of this mystical figure. 

Pre-Columbian Representations: 

Quetzalcoatl Codex

 

             
Detail of the Temple of Quetzalcoatl in Teohtihuacan.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quetzalcoatl Picture on Yaxchilan Lintel Maya