In Aztec mythology, Huitzilopochtli, also spelled Uitzilopochtli (Classical Nahuatl: Huitzilopōchtli [hwitsiloˈpoːtʃtɬi] "Hummingbird on the Left", or "Left-Handed Hummingbird", huitzilin being Nahuatl for hummingbird), was a god of war, a sun god, and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. He was also the national god of the Mexicas of Tenochtitlan.
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.
History and myth
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, sacrifices were only done on festive days. There were 18 especially holy festive days, and only one of them was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli.
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