TOTEC was the Aztec god of spring (the beginning of the rainy season) and of new
He was also the patron god of
As a symbol of the new vegetation, Xipe Totec wore the
skin of a human victim - the "new skin" that covered the earth in the spring.
His statues and stone masks always showed
him wearing a freshly flayed skin (his name means Our Lord the Flayed One).
Aztecs adopted Xipe as a god during the
reign of Emperor Axayacatl (1469-81).
During the second ritual month of the
Aztec year, Tlacaxipehualiztli (Flaying of Men), the priests killed human victims by
removing their hearts. They flayed the bodies and put on the skins, which were dyed yellow
and called teocuitlaquemitl ("golden clothes"). Other victims were fastened to a
frame and put to death by arrows; their blood dripping down was believed to symbolize the
fertile spring rains.
A hymn sung in honour of Xipe Totec called
him Yoalli Tlauana (Night Drinker) because good rains fell during the night; it thanked
him for bringing the Feathered Serpent, symbol of plenty, and for preventing drought.