(Nahuatl pronunciation: [ʃiwpoːˈwalːi]
, from xihuitl
) was a 365-day calendar
used by the Aztecs
and other pre-Columbian Nahua peoples
in central Mexico. It was composed of eighteen 20-day "months," called veintenas
(the contemporary Nahuatl word for month) with a separate 5-day period at the end of the year called the nemontemi
. Whatever name that was used for these periods in pre-Columbian times is unknown. Through Spanish usage, the 20-day period of the Aztec calendar has become commonly known as a veintena
. The Aztec word for moon is mētztli
, and this word is today to describe these 20-day periods, although as the sixteenth-century missionary and early ethnographer, Diego Durán
In ancient times the year was composed of eighteen months, and thus it was observed by these Indian people. Since their months were made of no more than twenty days, these were all the days contained in a month, because they were not guided by the moon but by the days; therefore, the year had eighteen months. The days of the year were counted twenty by twenty.
calendar, (in history known as the "vague year" which means no leap day) had its antecedents in form and function in earlier Mesoamerican calendars
, and the 365-day count has a long history of use throughout the region. The Maya civilization
version of the xiuhpōhualli
is known as the haab'
, and 20-days period was the uinal
. The Maya equivalent of nemontemi
. In common with other Mesoamerican cultures the Aztecs also used a separate 260-day calendar
). The Maya equivalent of the tonalpōhualli
is the tzolk'in
. Together, these calendars would coincide once every 52 years, the so-called "calendar round
," which was initiated by a New Fire ceremony
. Read more...