Tonantzin

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In Aztec mythology and among present-day Nahuas, Tonantzin[pronunciation?]is believed to refer to Mother Earth.

Aspects[edit]

Goddesses such as "Mother Earth", the "Goddess of Sustenance", "Honored Grandmother", "Snake", "Bringer of Maize" and "Mother of Corn" can all be called Tonantzin. Other indigenous names include Chicomexochitl[pronunciation?] ("Seven Flowers") and Chalchiuhcihuatl[pronunciation?] ("Woman of Precious Stone"). A Tonantzin was honored during the movable feast of Xochilhuitl[pronunciation?]. Some claim that upon appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the hill of Tepeyac where Tonatzin's temple had been burnt by the Spanish priests, the natives accepted Our Lady of Guadalupe as Tonatzin.

Alleged syncretism[edit]

Mexico City's 17th-century Basilica of Guadalupe—built in honor of the Virgin and perhaps Mexico's most important religious building—was constructed at the base of the hill of Tepeyac, believed to be a site used for pre-Columbian worship of Tonantzin. The word Guadalupe may derive from Coatlaxopeuh, meaning “the one who crushes the serpent”, and thus perhaps relates etymologically to Quetzalcoatl, the word for the feathered serpent itself.

Modern usage[edit]

Tonantzin is sometimes used as a female given name; actress Tonantzin Carmelo is an example. Tona, Tonzi, Toni, and Nantzin are possible nicknames.

References[edit]

  • González, Ondina E. and Justo L. González, Christianity in Latin America: a history, p. 59, Cambridge University Press, 2008