Trecena

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The original page 13 of the Codex Borbonicus, showing the 13th trecena of the Aztec sacred calendar. This 13th trecena was under the auspices of the goddess Tlazolteotl, who is shown on the upper left wearing a flayed skin, giving birth to Cinteotl. The 13 day-signs of this trecena, starting with 1 Earthquake, 2 Flint/Knife, 3 Rain, etc., are shown on the bottom row and the column along the right side.

A trecena is a 13-day period used in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican calendars. The 260-day calendar (the tonalpohualli) was divided into 20 trecenas. Trecena is derived from the Spanish chroniclers and translates to "a group of thirteen" in the same way that a dozen (or in Spanish docena) relates to the number twelve. It is associated with the Aztecs, but is called different names in the calendars of the Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, and others of the region.

Many surviving Mesoamerican codices, such as Codex Borbonicus, are divinitory calendars, based on the 260-day year, with each page representing one trecena.


n.º Trecena Aztec deities associated Cardinal point
1 1 Cipactli (Caiman or aquatic monster) Tonacatecuhtli East
2 1 Ehecatl (Wind) Quetzalcoatl North
3 1 Calli (House) Tepeyollotl, Quetzalcoatl West
4 1 Cuetzpallin (Lizard) Huehuecoyotl or Macuilxochitl South
5 1 Coatl (Snake) Chalchiuhtlicue and Tlazolteotl East
6 1 Miquiztli (Death) Tonatiuh and Tecuciztecatl North
7 1 Mazatl (Deer) Tlaloc and Chicomecoatl o 4 Ehécatl West
8 1 Tochtli (Rabbit) Mayahuel and Xochipilli or Cinteotl South
9 1 Atl (Water) Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli or Xiuhtecuhtli East
10 1 Itzcuintli (Dog) Mictlantecuhtli North
11 1 Ozomatli (Monkey) Patecatl and Cuauhtliocelotl West
12 1 Malinalli (Grass) Itztlacoliuhqui South
13 1 Acatl (Reed) Tezcatlipoca or Uactli and Ixcuina or Tlazolteotl East
14 1 Ocelotl (Ocelot or Jaguar) Tlazolteotl North
15 1 Cuauhtlil (Eagle) Xipe Totec and Quetzalcoatl West
16 1 Cozcacuauhtli (Vulture) Itzpapalotl South
17 1 Ollin (Movement or Earthquake) Xolotl and Tlalchitonatiuh or 4 Ollin East
18 1 Tecpatl (Flint or Knife) Chalchiuhtototl North
19 1 Quiahuit (Rain) Tonatiuh West
20 1 Xochitl (Flower) Xochiquetzal and Tezcatlipoca South

See also[edit]