The Aztecs and their 400 Rabbits

If you have read several articles of this blog regularly, you will already know, that a rabbit has a regular appearance – every month. I’m talking about the rabbit in the calendar, of course. Tochtli, meaning rabbit, is the name of a day in the Aztec calendar.

Rabbit in Codex Vaticanus
See it in context at Codex-Day (2)

Now look, what I found today via reddit:

Posted by pan50 on reddit

This is obviously a humorous picture, but nevertheless it would be interesting to find out, why the Aztecs called it like that. We can be sure that the reason was connected to a symbolic meaning, rather than just being crazy motherf****s – especially if a rabbit was involved.

Indeed, as it is assumed nowadays, the rabbit in Aztec mythology was connected to Pulque, the strong alcoholic beverage made from agave sap. Don’t mix it with Mezcal or Tequila, which are also made from Agave, but different parts. If you look for it in Aztec manuspricts, better look for iztac octli though, because this was the original term for it, meaning white wine.

We can see the rabbit in the deity Ometochtli (2 Rabbit), which is considered the deity of Pulque in several, individual forms. Ome Tochtli can also be the name of a day in the Aztec Calendar.

An Aztec vessel with the rabbit deity
picture: ·Maunus·ƛ·/

The original goddess of Pulque in mythology was Mayahuel. She feeded her children with her breast, from which she gave nice Pulque. Those children were the rabbits we spoke about. If there is a rabbit, and you know it means amongst other things “being drunk”, what do multiple rabbits mean?!

Mayahuel had 400 (!) breasts and with those fed 400 children, quite a logistic challenge. Those special children of Mayahuel appear in one group in Aztec mythology – Centzontotochtin (400 Rabbits). For the Aztecs, 400 was considered a suitable number for showing that something is innumerable. Regarding that, we have to consider “400” as “infinitely” or “limitless”. Mayahuel’s children were an infinite number of deities drinking Pulque.

Now we can explain what an Aztec could have meant, when he talked about a big celebration an reported, that the guests were drunk like 400 rabbits. An infinite number of rabbit deities getting drunk on Pulque – if that isn’t a great comparison for being completely drunk.

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