Mérida, Yucatán, (November 02, 2021).- The Xoloitzcuintle dog, whose history dates back more than 3,500 years ago, was created by the god of death to protect the living and guide the souls of the deceased through Mictlán, the underworld or the city of the dead, according to Aztec belief.
The most important function that the Xoloitzcuintles were believed to fulfill was to help the souls cross a deep and mighty river that crosses the Mictlán.
Despite their goodness, they refused to help those who in life had treated animals badly, especially dogs, for which they would perish and would never be able to cross the underworld.
However, if the person had been generous to the dogs, the xolo would gladly take their soul, lay it on his back, and carry it safely to the other side.
The term xoloitzcuintle originates from Nahuatl: Xólotl, god of sunset and death, and itzcuintli, dog. Xólotl is the twin brother of Quetzalcóatl, who represents his opposite: darkness, underworld, death.
Because of their relationship with the god of death, people had to be kind, if they wanted to enjoy a grateful death without suffering.
The legend of the Xoloitzcuintle says the if the dog is black, or too light in color, it will not be able to cross the river.
Only when the dog is mottled gray color (which is usual for them), then it will be able to carry out this important task.
The Xoloitzcuintle was on the brink of extinction during European colonization, as the conquerors found in it an unbeatable source of food for their expeditions, but mostly to eliminate the religious traditions related to this animal.
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