Chaac and Tlaloc, two gods of rain for two tribes were as similar and as different to each other as they could be.

 

In the Pre-Colombian Mesoamerican traditional religious beliefs, Chaac and Tlaloc are two important deities associated with rain and fertility. Whereas Chaac is worshipped by the Mayans, Tlaloc is by the Aztecs.

The Mayans are a group of people who are aboriginal to Mesoamerica. They populate Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. The Aztecs are a group of people of a specific ethnic group of Central Mexico, who mainly spoke the Nahuati language. Though both these gods are portrayed to play the same function in both the societies.

But they are quite different in other aspects of life like the animals they are associated with. Chaac is said to have the power over the rain and agriculture and fertility.

He is said to be have four incarnations linked to the four cardinal directions with relation to the colours green, red, white and black respectively.

Chaac is known to be one of the oldest Mayan deities and is illustrated as a human with animal features, that of an amphibian, i.e. with scales over his body, a long-curly nose and a large, protruding lower lip. He is also said to bear a stone axe which he uses to generate rain and thunder by striking the clouds with it.

Among the many rituals that were to be done so as to please the rain god, the most intriguing one would be the sacrifice of four boys for the four cardinals, chanting as frogs for rain and better crops. It is believed that since Chaac was helped by four dwarfs in the time of distress, the sacrificial offering of children is preferred. In some traditions, it is presumed that there were demigods, known as Chaacob and to humans, they appeared as dwarfs or giants.

Chaacs’ alter ego, Tlaloc is said to be the god of rain and fertility and vegetation for the Aztecs. He is considered as the ruler of the 3rd sun and has been portrayed as a human with circles around his eyes and fangs like that of a jaguar, with skin, the colour dirty yellow. Tlaloc is often associated with the mountains and is said to have a group of demigods, known as the Tlaloque.

Tláloc is also said to have had two wives: first Xochiquetzal, the flower and fertility goddess but she was abducted by Tezcatlipoca. Later, he took a second wife, Matlalcueitl, another rain deity.

Tlaloc is said to have had both, helpful and harmful aspects. He carried four water jugs: one gave rain, but the others poured disease, frost, and drought onto the world. He is said to create rain by clashing both of his jugs together. Tláloc was also believed to rule the other-worldly paradise of Tlalocán, where the victims of floods, storms and diseases such as leprosy were accepted after death. The deceased bodies were not incinerated but were buried. Just like the other deities,

Tlaloc also required human sacrifice and priests often offered him the lives of children during the dry season. It was speculated that the tears in the eyes of the children during the sacrifice meant intense rainfall.

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