Pronunciation: wee-tsee-loh-poch'-tlee

Huitzilopochtli, Hummingbird of the South, (or Hummingbird of the Left) is the central deity of the Mexica. He is associated with the Sun and Fire. Huitzilopochtli is a warrior, armed the with the ferrocious Xiuhcoatl ("Fire Snake").

Huitzilopochtli is sometimes identified as the Blue Tezcatlipoca.

In the Huey Teocalli of Tenochtitlan (the major temple of ancient Mexico City) one half was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the other half to Tlaloc, the god of rain. Since war is called in atl in tlachinolli ("the water, the fire"), this combination of gods of fire and of water makes the major temple a place dedicated to the sacred war.

Huitzilopochtli has no direct relevance for the tonalpohualli. In the xiuhpohualli however, various festivals were dedicated to him.

From: Aztec Calendar
Huitzilopochtli, whose name means "Blue Hummingbird on the Left," was the Aztec god of the Sun and the war. He was shown as a blue man fully armed with hummingbird feathers on his head. His mother Coatlicue became pregnant with Huitzilopochtli when a ball of feathers fell from the heaven and touched her. Huitzilopochtli's siblings thought that their mother Coatlicue had dishonored them with her mysterious pregnancy.

One sister of Huitzilopochtli, Coyolxauhqui, encouraged her star sisters and brothers to kill their mother Coatlicue. However, Huitzilopochtli sprang out of his mother and saved her. Coatlicue regretted such violence. Thus, Huitzilopochtli cut off Coyolxauhqui's head and threw it in the sky to become the Moon.

Aztecs used to offer human sacrifices to Huitzilopochtli. The victims were usually prisoners captured in the frequent wars that Aztecs were fighting against their neighbors. The sacrifices were intended to secure rain, harvests and success in war.The most common form of sacrifice practiced by Aztecs was to tear out the heart of a living body and offer it to the Sun.

From: here
Huitzilopochtli's mother was Coatlicue, and his father was a ball of feathers (or, alternatively, Mixcoatl). His sister was Malinalxochitl, a beautiful sorceress, who was also his rival. His messenger or impersonator was Paynal.

In one of the recorded creation myths, Huitzilopochtli is one of the four sons of Ometeotl, he made the first fire from which a half sun was created by Quetzalcoatl.

The legend of Huitzilopochtli is recorded in the Mexicayotl Chronicle. His sister, Coyolxauhqui, tried to kill their mother because she became pregnant in a shameful way (by a ball of feathers). Her offspring, Huitzilopochtli, learned of this plan while still in the womb, and before it was put into action, sprang from his mother's womb fully grown and fully armed. He then killed his sister Coyolxauhqui and many of his 400 brothers. He tossed his sister's head into the sky, where it became the moon, so that his mother would be comforted in seeing her daughter in the sky every night. He threw his other brothers and sisters into the sky, where they became the stars.[1]


Huitzilopochtli was a tribal god and a legendary wizard of the Aztecs. Originally he was of little importance to the Nahuas, but after the rise of the Aztecs, Tlacaelel reformed their religion and put Huitzilopochtli at the same level as Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, and Tezcatlipoca, making him a solar god. Through this, Huitzilopochtli replaced Nanahuatzin, the solar god from the Nahua legend. Huitzilopochtli was said to be in a constant struggle with the darkness and required nourishment in the form of sacrifices to ensure the sun would survive the cycle of 52 years, which was the basis of many Mesoamerican myths. While popular accounts claim it was necessary to have a daily sacrifice[citation needed], sacrifices were only done on festive days. There were 18 especially holy festive days, and only one of them was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli.

Every 52 years, the Nahuas feared the world would end as the other four creations of their legends had. Under Tlacaelel, Aztecs believed that they could give strength to Huitzilopochtli with human blood and thereby postpone the end of the world, at least for another 52 years.

The Great Temple of Tenochtitlan was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc because they were considered equals in power. Sixteenth century Dominican Friar Diego Durán wrote, "These two gods were always meant to be together, since they were considered companions of equal power." [2] The Templo Mayor actually consisted of a pyramidal platform, on top of which were twin temples. The left one was Huitzilopochtli's, and the right one was Tlaloc's.

According to Miguel León-Portilla, in this new vision from Tlacaelel, the warriors that died in battle and women who died in childbirth would go to serve Huitzilopochtli in his palace (in the south, or left). From a description in the Florentine Codex, Huitzilopochtli was so bright that the warrior souls had to use their shields to protect their eyes. They could only see the god through the arrow holes in their shields, so it was the bravest warrior who could see him best. From time to time, those warriors could return to earth as butterflies or hummingbirds.


Diego Duran described the festivities for Huitzilopochtli. Panquetzaliztli (7 December to 26 December) was the Aztec month dedicated to Huitzilopochtli. People decorated their homes and trees with paper flags; there were ritual races, processions, dances, songs, prayers, and finally human sacrifices. This was one of the more important Aztec festivals, and the people prepared for the whole month. They fasted or ate very little; a statue of the god was made with amaranth (huautli) seeds and honey, and at the end of the month, it was cut into small pieces so everybody could eat a little piece of the god. After the Spanish conquest, cultivation of amaranth was outlawed, while some of the festivities were subsumed into the Christmas celebration.

According to the Ramirez Codex, in Tenochtitlan circa sixty prisoners were sacrificed at the festivities. Sacrifices were reported to be made in other Aztec cities, including Tlatelolco, Xochimilco, and Texcoco, but the number is unknown, and no currently available archeological findings confirm this.

For the reconsecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, dedicated to Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli, the Aztecs reported that they sacrificed about 20,400 prisoners over the course of four days. While accepted by some scholars, this claim also has been considered Aztec propaganda. There were 19 altars in the city of Tenochtitlan.

From: Wiki (also has some more info)
The Aztec god of war and of the sun, chief god of the great Aztec city Tenochtitlan. He is a son of Coatlicue. He slew his sister Coyolxauhqui and tossed her head into the sky where it became the moon.

Huitzilopochtli was represented as a hummingbird, or with the feathers of a hummingbird on his head and his left leg, with a black face and holding a snake, and a mirror. His name means "Hummingbird of the South", "He of the South", or "Hummingbird on the Left".

Name and Etymology:
Huitzilopochtli, "Blue Hummingbird of the Left (South)"
Huichilobos (Spanish)

Religion and Culture of Huitzilopochtli:
Aztec, Mesoamerica

Symbols, Iconography, and Attributes of Huitzilopochtli:

Statues of Huitzilopochtli were usually made out of wood rather than stone, so few survive. From what we can tell, Huitzilopochtli is typically portrayed with a headdress of hummingbird feathers or even as a hummingbird. His faced was marked with yellow and blue stripes and he carries around the fire serpent Xiuhcoatl with him. There was an important statue of him in his temple at Tenochtitlan, covered with gold and hidden by a curtain. The fate of this statue remains a mystery.

Huitzilopochtli was God of:

Warriors and Young Men
Supreme God of Tenochtitlan
Protector of the Aztec nation
Equivalents in Other Cultures:

There doesn't appear to be any precedents for Huitzilopochtli in Mesoamerican religion — he's unique to the Aztecs. Huitzilopochtli was the supreme god of Aztec culture and it was in his name that the infamous Aztec heart sacrifices were performed.

Story and Origin of Huitzilopochtli:

Huitzilopochtli's mother Coatlicue became pregnant when a ball of feathers (the soul of a warrior) fell from the sky and hit her. He later leapt fully formed from his mother's womb and killed his siblings who were, in turn, about to kill Coatlicue for presumably having been promiscuous. Huitzilopochtli may have roots in a historical warrior early in Aztec pre-history.

Family Tree and Relationships of Huitzilopochtli:

Son of of Coatlicue, Earth Goddess
Brother of Coyolxauhqui

Worship and Rituals of Huitzilopochtli:

Huitzilopochtli was worshipped during the Aztec yearly festival Panquetzaliztli. Slaves were killed during fake battles to commemorate a new military season. Victims were dragged up the temple steps, stretched across the stone altar, their chests cut open with an obsidian knife, and hearts ripped out. The corpse was skinned, dismembered, and the pieces sent down to the rulers and nobility for consumption. The heart was consumed by the priests or burnt as an offering to Huitzilopochtli.
Art and Temples of Huitzilopochtli:

Huitzilopochtli was the supreme god at the temple area of Tenochtitlan. His temple occupied the most prominent site at Tenochtitlan, aside from perhaps the temple dedicated to Tlaloc. Together their temples constituted the Hueteocalli, the "Great Temple," a double pyramid which was the central focus of Aztec religious ritual. Huitzilopochtli's temple was painted read for war; Tlaloc's was painted blue and white for water.
Mythology and Legends of Huitzilopochtli:

It appears that Huitzilopochtli was originally worshiped by the Mexica Aztecs, the last Aztec tribe of move into the Basin of Mexico from the north and the Aztec tribe responsible for creating the Aztec empire known to people today. It is through them that Huitzilopochtli became such an important god for the Aztecs generally.

According to Aztec legends, Huitzilopochtli led the early Mexica Aztec people away from their original home in a cave on the island of Aztlan, some time in the early 12th century, in order to seek out a new home. They gathered together for a while in Chicomoztoc, the origin of all Mesoamerican peoples in the legends, and eventually Huitzilopochtli chose to lead the most virtuous away. This may describe a real event when early Aztec tribes split up.

Huitzilopochtli led his followers to the Coatepec, "Hill of the Serpent," a legendary place for the Aztecs which they recreated in their capital of Tenochtitlan. It was here that he was born (or reborn, it's confusing how he could lead the Aztecs here and only afterwards be born) fully-formed from his mother's womb, slaying his brothers and sending his sister's body tumbling down to the bottom of Coatpec. The ritual heart sacrifices for which the Aztec became infamous for were thus recreations of the mythic story in which Huitzilopochtli kills his sister Coyolxauhqui.

Warriors and died in battle and women who died in childbirth would serve Huitzilopochtli in the afterlife. Huitzilopochtli was so bright and radiant, though, that it was difficult to see him at all — warriors would have to use their shields to protect their eyes, only glancing through the holes left by arrows. Eventually, some would be allowed to return to the earth as butterflies.

I. The Hymn of Huitzilopochtli.
I. Vitzilopochtli icuic.


1. Vitzilopuchi, yaquetlaya, yyaconay, ynohuihuihuia: anenicuic, toçiquemitla, yya, ayya, yya y ya uia, queyanoca, oya tonaqui, yyaya, yya, yya.

2. Tetzauiztli ya mixtecatl, ce ymocxi pichauaztecatla pomaya, ouayyeo, ayyayya.

3. Ay tlaxotla tenamitl yuitli macoc mupupuxotiuh, yautlatoa ya, ayyayyo, noteuh aya tepanquizqui mitoaya.

4. Oya yeua uel mamauia, in tlaxotecatl teuhtla milacatzoaya, itlaxotecatl teuhtla milacatzoaya.

5. Amanteca toyauan xinechoncentlalizquiuia ycalipan yauhtiua, xinechoncentlalizqui.

6. Pipiteca toyauan xinechoncentlalizquiuia: ycalipan. yautiua, xinechoncentlalizqui.

Var. 6. This verse is omitted in the Medicean MS.


1. In ivitzilopochtli ayac nouiui, id est, ayac nechneneuilia, ayac iuhqui, in iuhqui. Anenicuic, id est, amo ca nen nonicuic, in quetzali, in chalchihuitl in ixquich ynotlatqui, toçiquemitl. Queyanoca oya tonaqui, id est, onocatonat, onocatlatuit.

2. Q. n., tetzauiztli, id est, oquintetzauito, in mixteca inic oquiyaochiuhqui: oquimanilito in imicxi in pichauazteca, ioan in mixteca.

3. Ay tlaxotla tenamitl, q. n., quitepeua inin tena in aquique yauchiuallo. Iuitli macoc, q. n., oncan quitema in tiçatl in ihuitl. Mopopuxotiuh yauhtlatuaya, q. n., inic mopopuxoticalaqui yauc, ioan, q. n., yeuatl quitemaca y yauyutl quitemaceualtia, tepanquizqui, mitoayaqui yehuatl quichioa yauyutl.

4. Oya yeua huel mamauia, q. n., çan oc momamauhtiaya in aya momochiua yauyutl. Teuhtla milacatzoaya q. n., in noteuh in opeuh yauyutl, aocac momauhtica iniquac ynoteuhtli moquetza ynoteuhtica tlayoa(lli).

5. Amanteca toyauan, q. n., yn iyaoan yn aquique in cani omocentlalique ca in calipan in yautioa ca tlatlaz ynin cal.

6. Pipiteca, toyaoan, xinechoncentlalizque, q. n., in pipiteca y yaoan mochiuhque. Yn calla in mochiua yauyutl in i calipan.

The Hymn of Huitzilopochtli.

1. Huitzilopochtli is first in rank, no one, no one is like unto him: not vainly do I sing (his praises) coming forth in the garb of our ancestors; I shine; I glitter.
2. He is a terror to the Mixteca; he alone destroyed the Picha-Huasteca, he conquered them.
3. The Dart-Hurler is an example to the city, as he sets to work. He who commands in battle is called the representative of my God.
4. When he shouts aloud he inspires great terror, the divine hurler, the god turning himself in the combat, the divine hurler, the god turning himself in the combat.
5. Amanteca, gather yourselves together with me in the house of war against your enemies, gather yourselves together with me.
6. Pipiteca, gather yourselves together with me in the house of war against your enemies, gather yourselves together with me.

Huitzilopochtli was the well-known war-god of the Azteca, whose functions are described by Sahagun (Historia, Lib. I., cap. 1) and many other writers. The hymn here given is probably the tlaxotecuyotl, which was chanted at the celebration of his feast in the fifteenth month of the Mexican calendar (see Sahagun, Historia, Lib. IL, cap. 34). The word means "his glory be established." It was commenced at sunset and repeated till sunrise.

1. "In the garb of our ancestors" (to-citli-quemitl). The high priest appeared in the insignia of Quetzalcoatl, which, says Sahagun, "were very gorgeous." (Hist., Lib. II., Appendix.)
2. Mixteca, plural of Mixtecatl, an inhabitant of Mixtecapan, near the Pacific. The Huasteca, a nation of Maya lineage, lived on the Gulf coast.
3. The god was called the Hurler, as he was believed to hurl the lightning serpent (the xiuhcoatl).
5. Sahagun recites the legends about the Amanteca (Historia, Lib. IX., cap. 1. Here the name refers to the inhabitants of the quarter called Amantlan.
6. Pipiteca, a nomen gentile, referring doubtless to a certain class of the hearers.

This hymn may be compared to another, descriptive of the same divinity, preserved in Sahagun's MS. in Madrid. It is as follows, with my translation by its side.

Can maceualli
Can tlacatl catca.
Quiyocoyani in yaoyotl
Ca itechpa mitoaya
Tepan quitlaza
In xiuhcoatl
Quitoznequi yaoyotl
Teoatl tlachinolli.
Auh iniquac ilhuiq'xtililoya
Tealtilaya impochteca.
Auh inic mochichiuaya:
Xiuhtotonacoche catca

Only a subject,
Only a mortal was.
A magician,
A terror,
A stirrer of strife,
A deceiver,
A maker of war,
An arranger of battles,
A lord of battles;
And of him it was said
That he hurled
His flaming serpent,
His fire stick;
Which means war,
Blood and burning;
And when his festival was celebrated,
Captives were slain,
Washed slaves were slain,
The merchants washed them.
And thus he was arrayed:
With head-dress of green feathers,
Holding his serpent torch,
Girded with a belt,
Bracelets upon his arms,
Wearing turquoises,
As a master of messengers.

When in Florence, in 1889, I had an accurate copy made of the Nahuatl text and all the figures of the first book of Sahagun's History. The colored figure of Huitzilopochtli is in accordance with the above description.

From: I. The Hymn of Huitzilopochtli. (Rig Veda Americanus)

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