Dancing for Aztec New Year

Aztec Calendar sunstone

Aztec Calendar Stone, from the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

From our vantage point here in Valencia, March is all about Las Fallas–we hear marching bands in the morning, massive explosions every day at 2 pm (the mascletá in the city center), and at other random moments we encounter small, medium and large explosions capable of startling me off my feet (or my bicycle). Wherever we go there are kids and adults armed with petardos that can be thrown onto the street or lit to shoot into the air.

Though our landscape and soundscape get entirely overtaken by all things Fallas, I recognize that there are all kinds of other holidays, celebrations, and commemorations happening, many that are new to me. El Guapo did a bit of research and learned that March has quite a few designations, including these:

  • Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month
  • Bell Peppers and Broccoli Month
  • Dolphin Awareness Month
  • Exotic Winter Fruit & Leeks and Green Onions Month
  • Humorists are Artists Month
  • Mad for Plaid Month

Okay, so I’m willing to be aware of dolphins, recognize the artistry in the work that humorists do, enjoy my bell peppers and my broccoli (I have some of each in the kitchen right now), and be very enthusiastic about plaid, but I make no promises about exotic winter fruits & company, and I have to say no to adopting a guinea pig.

Noteworthy these may be, but they don’t strike me as sufficient inspiration for a large scale celebration. (I welcome evidence to the contrary–if you know of any parades dedicated to Exotic Winter Fruit & Leeks and Green Onions Month, I want details!)

In contrast, I give you exhibit A, Aztec New Year. This photo featured in a contest last year sponsored by National Geographic. The photographer, Ryan Bell, captured a striking image of a dancer taking part in Aztec New Year festivities, celebrated on March 12. According to Bell, “The Aztec, who are known as the people of the sun, believe they’ve been drawn to live in Seattle, a city of rain, by the Aztec god of water.”


by Ryan T. Bell

Dancing in honor of Aztec New Year, a dancer wears traditional dress called atuendo.


There are lots of other photos from the contest here. Here’s a source if you want to read up on the Aztecs, and here’s something to listen to while you read. Though I can’t vouch for its authenticity, I do like the pan pipes.

[Images: El Comandante at Wikipedia, Ryan Bell]

One thought on “Dancing for Aztec New Year

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