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‘Tomb of the Years’ at Tenayuca Pyramid

Every 52 years, the length of one Aztec calendar cycle, the population would perform the Fuego Nuevo or “New Fire” ceremony, also called the “Binding of the Years.” It was one of the most important Aztec rituals, as it was performed to ensure that the world would not end and a new cycle would begin. 

As the year end approached, families would cleanse and destroy all their household items, including their most prized possessions and extinguish all domestic fires, waiting anxiously in darkness in silence to see whether civilization would continue or whether the universe would end. As part of the ritual, they would tie together bundles of 52 reeds, representing the closed cycle, and burn them.

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