In the navel of the moon

Ix Chel

Artist and photographer unknown.


En el ombligo de la luna is the meaning of the Náhuatl word “Mēxihco,” which is derived from

Metx(tli) – ‘moon’  +   xic(tli) – ‘navel’  +  co – ‘in’

The word México is identical in several languages, such as Mixtec, Otomi, Pame, and Tarasco.

The positions of the lakes upon which México City was founded are shaped like a rabbit and correspond to the same pattern on the moon, so México is also The Rabbit’s Navel. Ixchel, shown with a hare as her companion, is the goddess of the moon, fertility, weaving, and the protector of women during childbirth. Initially she was as bright as the sun god. They married, but she was jealous of him. He grew tired of her jealousy and beat her, maiming her so that she was not as bright as he.  She left him and would only show herself when he was no longer around.

The Mexican census reports the cultural-ethnicity of indigenous communities that preserve their indigenous languages, traditions, beliefs, and cultures.

Of the indigenous languages, Náhuatl has the greatest number of speakers in México at just over 1.6 million.  The Mayans have the largest population of the indigenous peoples (30,000 more than the Náhuatl) and approximately 900,000 still speak their native language.

The Mexican census estimates that 9.8 per cent of the Mexican population is indigenous (10.1 million). There are at least 64 indigenous groups that survive, some with fewer than 100 members.

A Suggestion to Rename México

Outgoing President Calderon has proposed, first when he was a congressman and now late in his presidency, that the name be changed back to México from Estados Unidos Méxicanos. The latter dates from 1824 and was modeled on the country’s northern neighbor.  The News quoted the President, who has only seven days left in his term:

“It is time for Mexicans to take back the beauty and simplicity of our fatherland’s name: México. A name we chant, we sing, that makes us happy and fills us with pride. A name that is mentioned in every civic, historic and athletic celebration. A name that identifies us here and across the world.”

The opposition party has said there are more pressing matters.


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