The Aztecs lived in an environment which they treated as if it were human. They were constantly cajoling it, through the worship of their gods, to be favorable to them and grant them the benefits of nature: more rain, enough sun for their crops, and no storms. Their very lives depended on the benevolence of nature. So their calendar charted the times of the year which needed special attention and the gods to whom they owed obeisance. The intimacy between the Aztecs and nature was the foundation of their civilization.
The Mexicans of today are also very close to nature. Their main crop, like that of the Aztecs, is corn. Corn forms the basis for their cuisine, as it did for the Aztecs. They eat certain foods such as turkey, for special occasions as did the Aztecs. They drink
(an alcoholic beverage) and
as did the Aztecs. Certain activities like
(a type of maypole an which one man stands and four other men swing around it on ropes) performed today to celebrate special events, come from Aztec rites honoring their gods (each man on a rope completed thirteen turns, and the four together equalled fiftytwo which made up an Aztec century of fiftytwo years).
Many more vestiges of the Aztec civilization can be found in Mexican culture today through careful investigation. The information and the activities presented in this unit result in an exciting byproduct. The students will use Spanish almost effortlessly as their means of oral and written expression, thereby increasing their ability to use the language for communication.