Composition of calendar The calendar is made up of 6 rings /layers. All to represent different things. The different glyphs stand to represent important aspects of the Aztec culture.
History behind calendar This calendar is one of the oldest known and most descriptive in existance. It was founded on December 17, 1790 by a group of workers that were excavating a street in Mexico City, which ended up yielding a huge monolith weighing 26 tons! The monolith was buried face down. This stone, came to be known as the Sun Stone, or the Aztec calendar. This stone depicted the entire culture that surrounded the Aztecs. The amazing part about this stone, is that it survived the destruction of the largest monument, Tenochtitlán in the 1400’s.
Outer ring The first and outer ring of the calander represents their god, Xiuhcóatl, meaning Fire Serpent. This large serpent is said to have carried the sun across the sky, and was seen at night as the Milky Way. The same glyphs that show up on the serpents head may infact represent the Big Dipper or Pleiades (the seven sisters) also.
Four past suns The Aztecs believed that the Earth had lived through four previous lives to get to where we are now, and they had names for al the past suns, represented on the innermost ring on the calendar, surrounding the face of our current sun, the fifth sun.
First Sun The First Sun was called NahuiOcelotl, meaning Four Ocelot or Jaguar. During the time of this sun, the Earth was inhabited by Giants. This sun’s life was over when the giants were killed off by Jaguars.
Second sun The Second Sun was NahuiEhecatl meaning Four Wind. During this time, the beings on Earth began to understand how to cultivate and breed plants, and this sun’s life ended when winds and hurricanes blew everything away.
Third Sun The Third Sun was NahuiQuiauhuitl, or Four Fire Rain. During the time of this life in Earth, temples were being built by the inhabitants, and ended quickly when the Earth split open and spewed a rain of fire.
Fourth Sun The Fourth Sun was known as NahuiAtl, or Four Water. In this life, Earth was inhabited by beings that navigated and crossed the oceans, and ended when a flood covered the entire world.
The fifth son The Fifth sun was created on the 13th year when all the Gods met together at Teotihuacan to create the fifth sun, which is the same sun we have now. This sun is called NahuiOllin, or Four Movement. And it is represented by the outline of all the suns and the decorative ring around. The Aztecs believed this age would end when Earthquakes shook the entire world.
Comparison of days and years In our modern culture, we see a week as 7 days, a month as 26/30/31 days, and a year as 365 days. The Aztecs however had a totally different way to view these types of times. The Aztecs had a sacred cycle that lasted 52 years, with four periods of 13 year periods. Each period had a god, a color and a direction. The Knots on the outer ring and at the Fire Serpent’s tails indicate this. They also had 3 different types of years, The Tonalpohualli (sacred year) lasting 260 days, the Solar year which lasted 365 days, and the Venus cycle lasting 584 days. The Aztecs had 260 day names in total. They also had 20 day-weeks of 18 months. One of the inner rings depicts these days using colors, directions, and a specific god