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Tonalli has three meanings: day, heat of the sun, and luck. [1]

Tonalli as day

A day in the Anahuaca calendar is a combination of a number, 1-13 and a day sign, Cipactli-Xochitl. There are 260 unique day signs because 260 is the resulting product when 13 is multiplied by 20. This 260 day cycle was used for divination in Pre-Cuauhtemoc times.
A complete 260 day cycle
Each day sign was considered to be good, bad, indifferent, or both good and bad depending on the various influences of the numbers and days. The number 13 for example was considered to be the luckiest and most powerful day whereas a day sign like malinalli was bad because it is associated with beasts. Many of the surviving Pre-Cuauhtemoc codices contain a complete tonalamatl (book of days) which were consulted by a Tonalpouque (interpreter of day signs)on important days such as childbirth and marriage.

Teteo Assignments

Tlapohualmachiyotl Teotl Tototl
1 Xiuhtecuhtli Blue Hummingbird
2 Tlaltecuhtli Green Hummingbird
3 Chalchiutlicue Hawk
4 Tonatiuh Quail
5 Tlazolteotl Eagle
6 Mictlantecuhtli Screech Owl
7 Centeotl Butterfly
8 Tlaloc Eagle
9 Quetzalcoatl or Ehecatl Turkey
10 Tezcatlipoca Horned Owl
11 Chalmecatl or Mictlantecuhtli Macaw
12 Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli Quetzal
13 Ilamatecuhtli Parrot


  1. Nahuatl-English English-Nahuatl, Fermin Herrera, page 196.
  2. Boone, Elizabeth Hill. Cycles of Time and Meaning in the Mexican Books of Fate. page 46