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Huitzilopochtli

Huitzilopochtli, whose name means "Blue Hummingbird on the Left," was the Aztec god of the Sun and the war. He was shown as a blue man fully armed with hummingbird feathers on his head. His mother Coatlicue became pregnant with Huitzilopochtli when a ball of feathers fell from the heaven and touched her. Huitzilopochtli's siblings thought that their mother Coatlicue had dishonored them with her mysterious pregnancy.

One sister of Huitzilopochtli, Coyolxauhqui, encouraged her star sisters and brothers to kill their mother Coatlicue. However, Huitzilopochtli sprang out of his mother and saved her. Coatlicue regretted such violence. Thus, Huitzilopochtli cut off Coyolxauhqui's head and threw it in the sky to become the Moon.

Aztecs used to offer human sacrifices to Huitzilopochtli. The victims were usually prisoners captured in the frequent wars that Aztecs were fighting against their neighbors. The sacrifices were intended to secure rain, harvests and success in war.The most common form of sacrifice practiced by Aztecs was to tear out the heart of a living body and offer it to the Sun.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA