The 400 rabbits of drunkenness.

Posted October 21, 2010 by Kay Walten in Food & Drink,Mexican Culture

Aztec Goddess of Fertility

B.A.C. (Bunny Alcohol Content)
Part of the ancient Aztec mythology is centered around the Ometochtli, a family of deities who represent the excess in life. The matriarch of the family, Mayahuel, was the goddess of fertility, but also gave man the agave plant, used to make tequila and mezcal. Dad was Patecatl, the guy who discovered fermentation, as well as peyote, a natural psychotropic drug. From their union spawned the Centzon Totochtin, the 400 rabbits of drunkenness.

The Aztec drink of choice was pulque, a syrupy, pulpy alcohol made from the fermented sap of the agave plant. Pulque was available to almost everyone, but most people were cut off after four cups. The elderly, on the other hand, had earned as many cups as they could handle. The priests were also able to drink as much as they wanted in order to commune with the gods – and work up the nerve to commit human sacrifices. A believer’s drunkenness was measured on a scale of rabbits, with two or three rabbits being a petty good buzz, all the way up to 400, which we can only imagine meant, “poke him with a stick and see if he’s dead.”
So the next time you’re doing tequila shots with friends, instead of saying “three sheets to the wind,” perhaps you could say you’re “at least 10 rabbits in” and pay a little honor to Mayahuel, Patecatl, and their 400 kids.
Reprinted from
Nectar of the Gods: Alcoholic Mythology
by Rob Lammle

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