Blood-letting was a ritual, where people would cut themselves to offer their blood to the gods. The Aztecs had 18 months in a cycle and for each of the 18 months there was a ritual sacrifice. The victim would be painted as part of the ritual. In Mesoamerica, sacrifice was a religious ritual. There would be special ceremonies that involved sacrifice in temples or on mountain tops. A priest would perform the sacrifices during important festivals throughout the year. Sacrifice was extremely common and frequent in the Aztec community. Victims could be anyone, from men, women, children and sometimes even animals. The Aztecs would generally kill the victim by removing their heart. Sacrifices were performed in honour of the sun, rain, and earth gods. It was said that human sacrifice was a communion with the gods as it was necessary to feed them to keep the cosmic order. Due to the gods sacrificing themselves in the creation stories, the Aztecs believed that they had to do the same. After a victims heart was taken out, it was placed on a receptacle, then the victims body would be thrown down the temple stairs. Whilst this ritual took place, the audience would stab, pierce and bleed themselves as a means of auto-sacrifice so further worship to the gods was obtained.
An example of the most common sacrifice is that four priests would stretch the victims limbs out on a sacrificial stone and the fifth priest would take out the heart. [Baquedano 1993]
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