The Winter Solstice & the Birth of Huitzilopochtli

Updated: Sep 6

"The allegorical story is told that when the moon, Coyolxauhqui, along with her brothers Tzentzowitznawac found out that their mother Coatlicue (Mother Earth) had become pregnant after tucking an eagle feather into her breast, they became angry and plotted to kill her. However, Huitzilopochlti (the sun) while in his mother's womb, heard their plan and assured his mother that he would help her and in so doing was born fully formed. Upon his birth (the rising sun), he drove his siblings away (the stars of the night sky) and dismembered his sister the moon (representing the moon in her four aspects: new, waxing, full, and waning).

During the days preceding the solstice, the sun travels across the sky producing the effect that appears to us as if it is leaning towards the south and left, much like the human heart (abajo y a la izquierda). At this point, the sun has already traveled the sky for many days and “dies" on December 20 (the shortest day and so less sunlight). The sun goes to Mictlan, the place of the dead, to battle the darkness (longest night) and is reborn victorious on the 21st (some say arises on the 24) as Hummingbird, demonstrating great heart and willpower. The old ones, who were outstanding astronomers and mathematicians, noted this celestial phenomenon as the birth of Huitzilopochtli, of the Sun, with great celebrations of music, dance, and food for days, including what is now Christmas. Elders encouraged people to hold only good thoughts and to generously offer friends and neighbors food and drink. Gifts of baked blue corn mixed with black honey in the shape of Huitzilopochtli were also offered to friends and at temples.