Religion was a crucial part of every aspect of life for the Aztec peoples, with images of the gods appearing on everyday objects, as well as items used specifically for religious rituals. The Aztec faith shared many aspects with other Mesoamerican religions, like that of the Maya, notably including the rite of human sacrifice. In the great cities of the Aztec empire, magnificent temples, palaces, plazas and statues embodied the civilization’s unfailing devotion to the many Aztec gods. Read through the resources below to learn more about the religion and belief system of the Aztec peoples.
The Aztecs ruled over a powerful empire throughout much of central Mexico in the centuries before the arrival of Spanish conquistadors during the European Age of Exploration. An important aspect of the Aztec Empire and history was their religious beliefs and practices. In general, the Aztecs shared many of their main religious beliefs and practices with other societies in the region. For example, some gods and religious practices were common throughout different Mesoamerican societies, including: Toltec and Teotihuacan. As such, when learning about Aztec religion it’s important to understand that much of it also applies to other civilizations throughout the history of the region. This article describes some of the religious beliefs and practices of the region.
This website gives a short overview of some of the mythology and gods that were important to Aztec culture.
This interactive website provides some brief information about some of the beliefs of the Aztec people.
Aztec rituals and religious symbolism imbued the civilization’s life with religious meaning throughout the year. Every month had at least one major religious ceremony honoring a god or gods. Most of these ceremonies were related to the agricultural season, the sowing of corn or the harvest of fruits. This article describes some of the rituals involved with these religious ceremonies, and why they were so important to Aztec culture.
This article describes some of the ritual sacrifices performed by the Aztecs, and why they did them.
Human sacrifices were famously a part of the Aztec culture, famous in part because of deliberate propaganda out of the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico, who at the time were involved in executing heretics and opponents in bloody ritual displays as part of the Spanish Inquisition. The over-emphasis on the role of human sacrifice has led to a distorted view of Aztec society: but it is also true that violence formed a regular and ritualized part of life in Tenochtitlan. Read through this article to learn more about ritual human sacrifice.
The Aztec religion was made up of a complex set of beliefs, rituals and gods that helped the Aztec/Mexica to make sense of their world's physical reality, and the existence of life and death. The Aztecs believed in a multiple-deity universe, with different gods who reigned over different aspects of Aztec society, serving and responding to Aztec specific needs. That structure was deeply rooted in a widespread Mesoamerican tradition in which concepts of the cosmos, world, and nature were shared across most of the prehistoric societies in the southern third of North America. Read through this article to learn about the Aztec world belief and some of the gods and goddesses of their religion. There are links to further information on each of the gods and goddesses included throughout the article.
The Aztecs had hundreds of different gods and goddesses—one for every aspect of their lives. The various deities were believed to exert immense power and influence over everything people did and, as a result, were worshipped devoutly by all levels of society, both at domestic shrines and also in elaborate public rituals. This article describes the underlining beliefs of Aztec culture, and how religion played a role in everyday culture.