The Hummingbird in Mexican Culture

In many traditions, Hummingbird feathers are treasured for their almost magical qualities. It is said that Hummingbird brings love as no other medicine can do, and their presence brings joy to the observer.

The older and wiser, Mayans say that the Gods created all things on earth and in doing so, every animal, every tree and every stone was commissioned work. But when they had finished, they noticed that there was no one in charge to take their wishes and thoughts from one place to another.

As they had no mud or corn for another animal, they took a stone carved jade and with it a small arrow. When it was ready, and they blew on it and the little arrow flew. He was no more a simple arrow, now had life, the gods had created the x ts’unu’um (hummingbird).

The Maya names for birds, generally relate to the sounds they make, their songs or sounds are produced by feathers, for example x ts’unu’um for hummingbirds.

It was so fragile and so light that the hummingbird could approach the most delicate flowers without moving a single petal, feathers shining in the sun like raindrops, reflecting all colors.

Then the men tried to catch this beautiful bird to use its feathers to adorn. The Gods saw him, became angry and said: “If someone dares to catch a hummingbird, it will die.” That’s why no one has ever seen a hummingbird in a cage, or in the hand of a man.

In this way it is that this mysterious and delicate bird has been able to carry out the task of the Gods:

“Hummingbird leads from here to there the thoughts of men”

If someone intends good to you the hummingbird take that desire all the way to you.

If a hummingbird flies around your head, do not touch it. He will take your desire and take it to the other; think about what you want: all positive things. For some reason the hummingbird came your way; You can trust that something extraordinary can happen.

From now on, the hummingbird will take all your wishes and thoughts from one place to another …

Hummingbird has different names in Mexico depending on the region quindes, tucusitos, picaflores, chupamirtos, chuparrosas, huichichiquis, or by name in indigenous languages: huitzilli Nahuatl, Mayan x ts’unu’um, Tzunún in huasteco or Jun in Totonac, among others.

The Aztecs or Mexica, recognized hummingbirds as brave and courageous fighters. It was admired because, despite its size, showed great strength and power to fly. Its beauty, color and accuracy were highly prized qualities besides. Notably, the Aztecs believed that this bird never died, and was the symbol * Huitzilopochtli, the god of war. In the Zapotec culture, it was in charge of drinking the blood of the sacrifices.

* Huitzilopochtli was usually translated as ‘left-handed hummingbird “or” Southern Hummingbird’, although there is disagreement around the meaning since the Opochtli ‘left’ is not modified and the modifier to be right, so the translation literal would be ‘left Hummingbird’

In the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel “it is called the hummingbird as a referral from a Nahuatl name, Pizlimtec, which comes from Piltzintecuhtli, Sun Young (name also Xochipilli, Aztec goddess of music, song, flowers and plants hallucinogenic), and presented himself as the father of the sun of today’s universe, it generates when it had to restructure the earth after a cosmic cataclysm. This coincides with the Popol Vuh, where the sun of today appears after the creation of men corn (De la Garza, 1995) ”

Chilam Balam of Chumayel


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