Welcome back to our Byte Blog! Continuing our Spanish learning journey with ViLaCa we will see time and time again all the fascinating topics our students will be learning! These last few weeks we have been sharing the many different festivals that are celebrated throughout Latin America. Do you have a favorite one so far? If you have not been keeping up with us check out last week’s blog to read up on the Festival of Congos and Devils. The Xoloitzcuintle
This week we are switching gears a bit and moving away from festivities. Have you ever seen a hairless cat? Sphynx cats really make you think about how many breeds of cats are out there. Well, there is also a breed of hairless dog! The Xoloitzcuintle or Xoloitzcuintli is a practically hairless canine breed. This breed is known as a cultural heritage and symbol of Mexico city. As a cultural heritage of Mexico city, can you guess the origins of its name? If you guessed that it is of Nahuatl origins, then you are right! The name Xoloitzcuintle or Xoloitzcuintli has several meanings.
Xolotl means hairless or naked, and itzcuintli means dog. Others decipher the meaning of Xolotl as the Mexica god of life and death. This breed has been around for thousands of years, even appearing in Mexica mythology. Did you know that these dogs were believed to accompany the souls of the dead when they traveled to Mictlan, the underworld? They were sacrificed and buried along with the person whom they had to guide. Legends say that Xolotl, gave Xoloitzcuintle as a gift to man, after having made it from a splinter of the Bone of Life, the bone from which all life was created.
“This breed has been around for thousands of years, even appearing in Mexica mythology”
According to legend the Xoloitzcuintle has many abilities. It is able to ward off and protect homes from evil spirits but they also have a duality. They can also represent misfortune as they are related to disease and physical deformities. Even so, the legends of Xoloitzcuintle have been popularized. A famous Mexican painter painted well known portraits of this breed. Can you guess who? Frida Kahlo! Much of her art has centered around the theme of the Xoloitzcuintle.
At a glance the Xoloitzcuintle looks very different from most dog breeds we know. Yet, as we learn more and more about them it is clear to see why they are different! A dog gifted to man from the Mexica gods to guide humans. Have you ever seen a Xoloitzcuintle? Maybe you or someone you know owns one? Do you know more about its history in Mexica mythology? Let us know in the comments below!
Spanish learning Festival of Congos and Devils
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