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The sweeping of the way: Rethinking The mexican Ochpaniztli festival

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Chapter Summary

In the aftermath of Spanish colonization of central Mexico in the sixteenth century, a remarkable corpus of illustrated manuscripts was created under the auspices of Christian missionaries. These chronicles classified and categorized virtually every aspect of pre-Columbian native life. This chapter investigates these chronicles' representations of a pre-Columbian festival known as Ochpaniztli, "the sweeping of the roads". This celebration corresponded with one of the series of twenty-day festival periods dubbed veintenas that, together with the final five unnamed days, comprise the Mexican pre-Hispanic ritual year of 365 days. The Ochpaniztli festival was dedicated to Tlazolteotl, the "deity of filth" or "divine filth", a goddess of human sexuality patronized by diviners, midwives, adulterers, and child-bearers.

Keywords: Mexican Ochpaniztli festival; Spanish colonization; Tlazolteotl



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