In Aztec mythology, Xolotl was a god of fire and lightning. He was commonly depicted as a dog-headed man and was a soul-guide for the dead. He was also god of twins, monsters, misfortune, sickness, and deformities. Xolotl was the sinister god of monstrosities who wears the spirally-twisted wind jewel and the ear ornaments of Quetzalcoatl.¹
The name “Xoloitzcuintli” references Xolotl because this dog’s mission was to accompany the souls of the dead in their journey into eternity. Dogs were often subject to ritual sacrifice so that they could accompany their master on his underworld voyage to Mictlan, the after-life. Xolos served as companions to the Aztecs in this life and also in the after-life, as many dog remains and dog sculptures have been found in Aztec burials, including some at the main temple in Tenochtitlan.
With so much history and folklore, it’s understandable that the Xolo inspires so many contemporary Day of Dead and Halloween traditions! This photo collection demonstrates the vibrant present of an important past.
¹ Source: Wikipedia