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Rhythm A Day Blog for March 12, 2020: Aztec New Year

Posted by Wolf Murphy on

Aztec New Year

The Aztec New Year is the celebration of the new year according to the Aztec calendar, which per most interpretations, falls on sunrise on March 12.


Macuilxochitl singing and playing the huehuetl, an Aztec drum.
From the Codex Borbonicus, p. 4. (Wikimedia Commons)

Many Nahua communities in Mexico celebrate by lighting ocote (pitch-pine) candles on Aztec New Year's Eve, a party that includes fireworks, drumming, and singing.  The Nahuas are a group of indigenous people of Mexico and El Salvador.

At the end of the celebrations, they burn a “flag” that represents the year that ended. They then anoint the new year's flag Finally they greet the New Year by sounding Conch shell horns, as their ancestors did centuries ago. Finally they sprinkle liquor fermented from the magüey cactus. 

Aztec wooden drum

Aztec wooden drum, from the British Museum.
(British Museum/CC BY-SA)

Sounds like my kinda party!

Here is a link to some Aztec drumming on the teponaztli  and
the huehuetl drums.

And today we will play some phrases from traditional Aztec drumming.

Today's Video Lesson

Landing page image: From the 16th c. Florentine Codex.
The two drums are the
teponaztli (foreground) and
huehuetl (background). (Public Domain)

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