New York —
The amaranth or joy It has been cultivated in Mexico for thousands of years. Excavations carried out by Mac Neish (1964) indicate that this plant was already cultivated by man during the Coxcatlán phase (5200 to 3400 years B.C..) and years later it was established as one of the main foods of the Mayans.
The amaranths were named Huauhtli by the Aztecs and they were of the grains more cultivated as food in the times before the conquest. In the Florentine Codex, Fray Bernadino de Sahagún (1979) various foods prepared with the amaranth plant are mentioned, such as tamales, stews, tortillas and drinks.
Amaranth story would have been happier
Among the Aztecs and their neighbors, the grain also had great religious importance because the Indians used it in religious festivities.
The history of amaranth would have been happier had it not been for the exaggerated zeal of the evangelizers, indicates a publication of the National Institute for Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock Research (INIFAP).
Amaranth was consecrated by the Aztecs as Catholics consecrate hosts
The tzoalli, a mixture of amaranth and honey, was especially present in ceremonies dedicated to Huitzilopochtli in the month toxcatl.
They made a kind of loaves in the form of deities to sacralize “their meat” and consume it with great reverence in ritual acts. Just as in the Catholic religion it consecrates the host as the flesh of Christ.
Aztecs communed with amaranth breads
The consecrated pieces they tore themselves up and took communion boys and adults, men and women, old and children. Who had sick people at home, they asked for tzoalli and they took it so they could eat it, waiting the miracle of his healing.
This practice was abhorrent to the Spanish colonizers, as well as the round tamales of dough and huauhtli leaves that were offered to the dead and to the fire element.
In 1577 amaranth was the most important crop, in 1890 it almost disappeared
In 1577, the Spanish Crown applied a questionnaire among the population to know the most important crops, the responses indicated that amaranth grains they were one of the most important crops.
In 1890 a new questionnaire made by the authorities considered the cultivation of amaranth disappeared. What was related to the prohibition of this practice by the Spanish, considering the seed a symbol of paganism.
The cultivation and consumption almost disappeared but remained in remote areas of the Conquest, today prevails in Puebla, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Mexico City, State of Mexico and Guanajuato.