“We come to be as does the spring grass, our hearts green up, they open their petals.
Our body is like this: it gives a few flowers, and then withers.”
The Aztecs of central Mexico were actually the indigenous Mexica people that made up the larger cities of the valley of Mexico, what is now in the Distrito Federal region. The Mexica people from all around the region began in 1200 AD and founded two large cities, Tenochtitlan and city-state Tlatelolco. Their beliefs and customs made up the whole of the Mexica people who celebrated the new year in a alluring and spiritual manner.
This March 12th will mark the beginning of the next Mexica New Year. The indigenous celebration to welcome the start of this new cycle is called the Year “Ce Calli/Uno Casa”, or “Ce Calli/One House”. The reason for calling itself Ce Calli is that the calendar is broken up into a cycle of 52 years. Each year is numbered from 1-13. The meaning of Ce Calli is broken down into the two terms. Ce refers to first number of the cycle. It translates to the beginning or origin. It can also refer to the creation of life. As it is referred to in the Mexica beliefs, “Cemanahuac” is the conception of the universe as well as their knowledge of their physical borders that included the American territory and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. And yes, it is confusing to understand the complexities of their calendar at first glance. Bear with me.
The term One House is generally translated to house in the sense of construction or building. The Mexican author Arturo Meza has a literature on the customs of the Mexica; his description of One House is “In the indigenous thinking, calli is where each one should try to know oneself inwardly, ourselves are the containers of our own essence, which we are solely responsible for.”
So in essence this year is dedicated to constructing an inner self that is not compromised by negativity. Looking within your origins will give one the ability to look forward and grow or build a better self.
One interesting thing to note is that there are 4 different times of day that the new year can fall on. Ce Calli is celebrated at midnight thus the celebrations would begin at night and go on throughout the dawn. These celebrations would include dancing, music by drums, as well as conch shells scented with incense and brightly adorned jewelry and headdresses.
This year there will be a Aztec/Mexica New Year celebration starting on Saturday March 16th that will include many activities and traditional dancers as well as a sunrise ceremony at 6:00am.
It will be held at Emma Prusch Park which is at 647 S. King Rd. in San Jose California. For this new year everyone stay positive and please enjoy the heritage of a great civilization that relied on the heavens to figure out the complexities of life. Their philosophies still hold some truth in our day and age as well; Happy Ce Calli.