There are many myths and legends present in Mexican culture, and probably one of the most famous is Quetzalcoatl. Now, if you can’t say it properly, never fear – El Camion can give you a brief lesson in linguistics…
kEt-sO-kO-Ot-uL – the Ot-Ul sounds “like bottle”
Say the “quet” like the spanish “que”, pronounced “kay”.
“zal” like “sal” in spanish, with an “ah” sound, not a short “a”
“co” has a long o, but combined with the a after it has kind of a “cwa” sound
“atl” again uses an “ah” sound
So, now we know how to say it – what does it mean?? The name means ‘Feathered Serpent’. It brings together the magnificent green-plumed quetzal bird, which symbolises the heavens and the wind, and the snake,a symbol of earth, rebirth, and fertility. It can also be translated as ‘precious twin’. In some myths, Quetzalcoatl has a twin brother, Xolotl, who has a human body and the head of a dog or of an ocelot.
Quetzalcoatl was one of the most important traditional deities in Mesoamerica, and appears in some of the regions most enduring tales.
One particular legend states that Quetzalcoatl was searching for the bones he needed to create mankind, and reached Mictlan, which is the ‘the region of the dead’. This is where the evil god Mictlantecutli was waiting, and tried to stop him from collecting what he needed. Aided by sacred bees and worms, Quetzalcoatl is able to get the precious bones and then uses them to bring human kind into the world.
If visiting Mexico, then keep your eyes open – his face appears on structures in the ancient city of Teotihuacán, and around many Aztec ruins.