Calendopaedia - Aztec Calender

There were actually two Aztec Calendars and they were both based on the Mayan Calendars. One of them, called the Xiuhpohualli Calendar consisted of 365 days and was used for farming and normal daily life. The other, known as The Tonalpohualli, had 260 days and was used for worship and observing rituals. This calendar, the name means 'day count' in English, is the one described first.

The Tonalpohualli - the Aztec Sacred Calendar

Each day has both a number and a symbol and both are needed to define the date. The numbers run from 1 to 13 and there are 20 different symbols. Day one is defined by number 1 and symbol 1. Day two is defined by number 2 and symbol 2. This continues until day 13 which is defined by number 13 and symbol 13. Day 14 is defined by number 1 and symbol 14, day 15 by number 2 and symbol 15. Day 20 is defined by number 7 and symbol 20. Day 21 by number 8 and symbol 1. As 13 is not a factor of 20 the same pair do not re-occur for 260 days and then a new sacred year starts.

The Xiuhpohualli - The Aztec Seasonal Calendar

This calendar defines a year of 18 months, each of 20 days, and five extra days, 365 days in total. These extra days were considered unlucky and so very little was done on them. Each year had a name and number combination as did the days in the The Tonalpohualli but this time there were only 52 such combinations before repeating. This series was known as a 'bundle'.

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