Nanahuatzin: The Most Humble of Gods

Nanahuatzin an Aztec God
While doing research for a word in the Aztec language 'Nahuatl', we ran across an interesting character from the Aztec Mythology. Nanahuatzin (nana-wa-tsin) was the smallest, poorest, and most humble of gods.

The legend goes that in the age of Nanahuatl, there had been four life cycles. In each cycle a god would take the task in giving light to humans. But to do this, one of the gods had to sacrifice himself by leaping into a fire.. Those gods were Tezcatlipoca (676 year cycle), Quetzalcoatl (676 year cycle), Tlaloc (364 year cycle), and Chalchiuhtlicue (676 year cycle). Each cycle ended because of catastrophic events. At the end of the fourth sun, the gods gathered at Teotihuacan to decide who had to sacrifice him/herself for the new cycle to begin.

Two gods were chosen: Tecciztecatl to serve as the sun because he was wealthy and strong and Nanahuatzin to serve as the moon because he was poor and ill. When it came down to leaping into the flames as a sacrifice, Tecciztecatl hesitated, during that hesitation, the humble and poor Nanahuatzin leaped into the flames, he would shine on Earth as the Fifth Sun. After seeing Nanahuatzin jump, Tecciztecatl built courage and jumped afterwards and was given the role of the moon.

According to Aztec beliefs, the current cycle will end through earthquakes and sky monsters devouring people.

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