Xipe Totec

The annual festival of Xipe Totec was celebrated on the spring equinox before the onset of the rainy season, it was known as Tlacaxipehualiztli (“flaying of men in honor of Xipe”) and fell in March at the time of the Conquest. Prior to the coming of The Oroborus, the High Priest of Xipe Totec would live out his life engaged in all manner of debauchery and excess where upon the designated time period he would be selected to be sacrificed to serve as a physical embodiment of his peoples sins. In practical application however, most often the people sacrificed where slaves taken by raiding parties. After having the heart cut out, the body of the sacrificial victim was carefully flayed to produce a nearly whole skin which was then worn by the priests for twenty days during the fertility rituals that followed the sacrifice. The skins were often adorned with bright feathers and gold jewelery when worn. The Tlacaxipehualiztli festival both began and culminated with a “gladiator sacrifice” ritual. During the festival, victorious warrior wearing flayed skins carried out mock skirmishes throughout Tenochtitlan, they passed through the city begging alms and blessed whoever gave them food or other offerings. When the twenty day festival was over, the flayed skins were removed and stored in special containers with tight-fitting lids designed to stop the stench of putrefaction from escaping. These containers were then stored in a chamber beneath the temple along side the Golden Cloak.

Xipe Totec

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