|The Aztecs had many
beliefs. They believed the sun fought darkness every night and
rose to save mankind. They believed the earth was flat. They
believed that if they fed the sun blood, it would rise. They
also believed in 13 heavens and 9 hells.
|The Aztecs respected
their gods very much. They put their greatest efforts into making
strong, beautiful temples to please their gods. Their arts had
a part in their religion. They drew pictures that told about
their gods. They recorded religious events with hieroglyphics
and even number symbols. The Aztecs worshipped about 1,000 gods!
But they worshipped the sun god the most. Religious ceremonies
took place in a temple called a teocalli. This temple had sacred
pools for ceremonial cleansing, gardens, living quarters for
a priest, and racks to hold the skulls of victims. Religion played
a great part in Aztec life.
|Sacrifice was one
of the main events in the Aztec religion. Priests made human
sacrifices to make the sun god happy. Aztecs fought in wars to
capture men to sacrifice. On God's Feast Day, they killed their
slaves for the gods. Human sacrifices were offerings to the sun
and earth so that food would grow.
|On the night of
the O' Nothing Days, O' priests would dress up as the supreme
gods and wait on the top of an extinct volcano. When the evening
star reached the top of the sky, the priests would stretch the
captive over an altar, or a special stone. Then the high priest
would light a fire on the victim's heart and tear it out. After
the heart is cut, the priest would hold the heart to the sun,
then put it in a sacred dish. Finally, the bodies were rolled
down the temple stairs to lie in a heap. Even after that, most
victims were happy to die because they thought they would go
straight to heaven.
|The Aztecs strongly
believed in the afterlife. It was the way the Aztecs died rather
than the way they lived that determined whether they would go
to the sun god or go to the dark and dismal underworld. If a
person died a normal death, his or her soul would have to pass
through the nine lives of the underworld before reaching Mictlan,
the realm of the dead. A warrior who died in battle or a woman
that died in childbirth would go straight to the sun god in the
|The head of the
gods was Huizilopochtlid, god of war and god of sun. This god
had told the Aztecs to wander until they found an eagle with
a serpent in its mouth perched on a cactus growing from a rock.
When they found this, they claimed the area around it, which
is now known as Tenochtitlan.
|The Aztecs worshipped Tlaloc,
the rain god, in the main temple. This god was very important
to farmers because drought was a threat in the area.
|Quetzalcoatl was a feathered
snake who represented arts, crafts, and self-sacrifice.
|Priests and priestesses
were very important people. They acted as doctors, and taught
science, art, writing, music, dance, history, and counting. They
also had to know astronomy and astrology. They had to perform
|Religion played an important
part in Aztecs' lives, and human sacrifice was used to pay homage
to their gods.