The Religion of the Ancient Aztecs

By: Jenny Georges


The ancient Aztec people were a Mesoamerican people of Central Mexico during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. Their civilization was one of mythology and great cultural heritage. Among their cultural heritage was religion. Religion was very important to the Aztec people. They saw religion as an important part of their lives both during their time on earth and at the time of death. The Aztec people recognized many gods and supernatural creatures. They expressed their fate by singing songs and praying to their gods. Although they believed in many gods their religion was dominated by three gods. Out of those three gods the main deity was their sun and war god, Huitzilopochtli.

The beliefs of the Aztecs were based primarily on their perception of nature,its time, space and cycles. The Aztec were very concerned with the destructive aspects of nature and most of the rituals that they practiced were traditions that helped them avoid any destructive behavior and chaos due to nature. The Aztecs tried to find harmony with nature, so that they could live happily and control their surroundings. They wanted to control nature, which can be seen in their calendar systems, which were originally based on a combination of numbers and signs that were used to determine the fate of everyone one, depending on their birthday. The priest on the other hand used calendars to determine lucky days.



The Aztec religion which is very different from the forms of religion that we know today also believed in human sacrifice. In fact human sacrifice played a vital role in the major ceremonies. Most of the people sacrificed were slaves and prisoners of war, but at times children were also sacrificed. During some of their religious ceremonies the Aztec priest would slash open a person and tear his or her heart out. To them the heart gave the gods blood so they would remain strong. No matter the size of the sacrifice it was performed in the same way, the victim would be held down by four priests. They felt that the strength and bravery of the dead would be passed on to anyone who ate the flesh of that dead. Another form of sacrifice was voluntary blood-letting which occurred at every religious function.



Most of the time of the Aztec people was devoted to religious practice. Their religious ceremonies included planting, harvesting and other agricultural events. They would take place in ceremonial centers, which included gardens. The Aztec believed that the world was controlled by divine forces that were in constant conflict. In addition to their remarkable and complicated religion the Aztec also built towering temples, created sculptures.

Well as you can see religion was a very important part of Aztec life. They worshipped gods and goddesses, who they believed ruled their activities and aspects of nature. Since the basis of the Aztec people’s culture was agriculture they also had many agricultural gods. In addition to their religious beliefs the Aztecs also focused heavily on farming. They believed that the gods should be worshipped and given thanks.






Bibliography

Wikipedia The Wikipedia Foundation Inc.,Free Encyclopedia,Aztec,5 Apr.2006
http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/cultural/mesoamerica/aztec.html






Government · Religion · Culture · Life Style
Technology · Spanish Influence

By Working Group 26 Members:

Introduction Page
Kimberly Alexander L. - Government
Michael Craig Jr. - Did Not Contribute
Jenny Georges - Religion
Jang Bo Ram - Culture
Lee MyungIn - Life Style
Antonio S. Stroh - Did Not Contribute
Jerry Youn - Technology
Jesse T. Zoll - Spanish Influence

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