Parution : Mesoamerican Rituals and the Solar Cycle : New Perspectives on the ‘Veintena’ Festivals

Mesoamerican Rituals and the Solar Cycle : New Perspectives on the 'Veintena' Festivals
Mesoamerican Rituals and the Solar Cycle : New Perspectives on the ‘Veintena’ Festivals


  • Élodie Dupey García
  • Elena Mazzetto

Élodie Dupey García is a tenured Professor and Researcher at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She holds a PhD in History of Religions from the École Pratique des Hautes Études (France). She has received a fellowship in Pre-Columbian Studies from Dumbarton Oaks and a Scholar Grant from the Getty Research Institute. She is the editor of Estudios de Cultura Náhuatl and the volume Painting the Skin. Pigments on Bodies and Codices in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica (2018).

Elena Mazzetto is Adjunct Lecturer at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), where she previously held a postdoctoral position. She also received a two-year postdoctoral grant from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and holds a PhD in History from the Universidad Ca’Foscari de Venecia (Italy) and the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne (France). She is the author of Lieux de culte et parcours cérémoniels dans les fêtes des vingtaines à Mexico-Tenochtitlan (2014).

Résumé de l’éditeur

This book explores a seminal topic concerning the Mesoamerican past: the religious festivals that took place during the eighteen periods of twenty days, or veintenas, into which the solar year was divided. Pre-Columbian societies celebrated these festivals through complex rituals, involving the priests and gods themselves, embodied in diverse beings and artifacts. Specific sectors of society also participated in the festivals, while city inhabitants usually attended public ceremonies. As a consequence, this ritual cycle played a significant role in Mesoamerican religious life; at the same time, it informs us about social relations in pre-Columbian societies. Both religious and social aspects of the solar cycle festivals are tackled in the twelve contributions in this book, which aims to address the entire veintena sequence and as much of the territory and history of Mesoamerica as possible. Specifically, the book revisits long-standing discussions of the solar cycle festivals, but also explores these religious practices in original ways, in particular through investigating understudied rituals and offering new interpretations of rites that have previously been extensively analyzed. Other chapters consider the entire veintena sequence through the prism of specific topics, providing multiple though often complementary analyses. As a consequence, this book will attract the attention of scholars and graduate students with interests in Mesoamerica and early Latin America, as well as ethnohistory, cultural history, history of religions, art history, archaeology and anthropology. 

Comptes rendus

“This insightful and innovative volume probes and thus recovers more fully some of the meanings and functions of Mesoamerican month festivals. It should be of interest to all Mesoamericanists as well as scholars interested in the role of indigenous ritual in general.” —Cecelia Klein, Professor Emerita, Department of Art History, UCLA

“This timely volume pays tribute to the Belgian scholar Michel Graulich (1944–2015), who revolutionized our knowledge of the religious life of Tenochtitlan and its neighboring cities by interpreting the great collective rituals in light of mythology. Inspired by his work, researchers from a variety of disciplines provide novel interpretations of the eighteen 20-day festivals of the Mesoamerican solar calendar. This innovative collection includes essays that focus on Central Mexican communities during the Late Postclassic period, while others draw lucid comparisons with societies such as the Maya and analyze transformations resulting from the Spanish Conquest.” —Dr. Leonardo López Luján, Director, Proyecto Templo Mayor, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia

“This volume is an innovative analysis of the Mesoamerican veintena festivals and the gods to whom they were dedicated. Each chapter is authoritative, very well written, and easy to follow. Readers will appreciate the multi-disciplinary focus that also draws on studies of colonial and contemporary indigenous beliefs and performances to demonstrate a remarkable continuity with the Pre-Columbian past. The volume is provocative and will surely stimulate new debate on the relationship of the fixed and moveable feasts of ancient Mesoamerica calendars that is long past due.” —John M.D. Pohl, Adjunct Professor, Department of Art History, UCLA


  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction / Elena Mazzetto and Élodie Dupey García
  • Part I : Rites and Myths in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica
    • Chapter One: Tezcatlipoca and the Maya Gods of Abundance: The Feast of Toxcatl and the Question of Homologies in Mesoamerican Religion / Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos
    • Chapter Two: The Re-enactment of the Birth of the Gods in Mexica Veintena Celebrations: Some Observations / Guilhem Olivier
    • Chapter Three: Quetzalcoatl in Nahua Myths and Rituals: Discreet or Omnipresent Protagonist ? / Élodie Dupey García
    • Chapter Four: Beyond Nature and Mythology: Relational Complexity in Contemporary and Ancient Mesoamerican Rituals / Johannes Neurath
  • Part II : Ritual Actors and Activities in the Veintena Festivals
    • Chapter Five: Haab’ Festivals among the Postclassic Maya: Evidence from Ethnohistoric Sources and the Madrid Codex / Gabrielle Vail
    • Chapter Six: Maize and Flaying in Aztec Rituals / Elena Mazzetto
    • Chapter Seven: The Toxcatl and Panquetzaliztli Figurines / John F. Schwaller
    • Chapter Eight: Myths, Rites, and the Agricultural Cycle: The Huixtotin Priests and the Veintenas / Sylvie Peperstraete
  • Part III : Pre-Columbian Categories, Colonial Interpretations
    • Chapter Nine: Dance and Sacrificial Rituals in the Veintena Ceremonies / Mirjana Danilovic
    • Chapter Ten: Ritual and Religious Practices Described in the Florentine Codex: Ritual Unit as a Structural Concept / Andrea B. Rodríguez Figueroa, Mario Cortina Borja, and Leopoldo Valiñas Coalla
    • Chapter Eleven: An Augustinian Political Theology in New Spain: Towards a Franciscan Interpretation of the Veintenas / Sergio Botta
    • Chapter Twelve: Bright Plumages, Teary Children, and Blessed Rains: Possible Reminiscences of Atlcahualo during the Indigenous Ceremonial Pomp of Saint Francis in Post-Conquest Mexico City / Rossend Rovira-Morgado
  • Epilogue / Danièle Dehouve
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index

Informations pratiques

  • Éditeur : New York ; Bern ; Berlin ; Bruxelles ; Oxford ; Wien : Peter Lang
  • Date de parution : 2021
  • Description matérielle : 1 vol. (XX-334 p.) : ill. en noir et en coul., tableaux ;
  • ISBN 978-1-4331-7541-1 : 40 €
  • DOI :


  • Absent en France

Citer ce billet
Olivier Jacquot (2021, 7 avril). Parution : Mesoamerican Rituals and the Solar Cycle : New Perspectives on the ‘Veintena’ Festivals. Amoxcalli. Consulté le 21 avril 2024, à l’adresse

Olivier Jacquot

Chargé de collections : manuscrits des fonds américains, Service des manuscrits ORientaux (SOR), département des Manuscrits (MSS), Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

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