In Aztec mythology and among present-day Nahuas Tonantzin 'Our Revered Mother' is a general title bestowed upon female deities. Informants of Sahagún, for example, called a frightening goddess of war and childbirth, Cihuacoatl, by this title. The title is particularly believed to refer to Mother Earth.
Goddesses such as "Mother Earth", the "Goddess of Sustenance", "Honored Grandmother", "Snake", "Bringer of Maize" and "Mother of Corn" can all be called Tonantzin. Other indigenous names include Chicomexochitl ("Seven Flowers") and Chalchiuhcihuatl ("Woman of Precious Stone"). A Tonantzin was honored during the movable feast of Xochilhuitl.
Mexico City's 17th-century Basilica of Guadalupe--built in honor of the Virgin and perhaps Mexico's most important religious building—was constructed at the base of the hill of Tepeyac, believed to be a site used for pre-Columbian worship of Tonantzin. Coatlaxopeuh meaning “the one who crushes the serpent” and that it may be referring to the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl.
Tonantzin is sometimes used as a female given name; actress Tonantzin Carmelo is an example. Tona, Tonzi, Toni, and Nantzin are possible nicknames.
- González, Ondina E. and Justo L. González, Christianity in Latin America: a history, p. 59, Cambridge University Press, 2008
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