According to Mexica and Nahuatl tradition, the gods gathered in the dark at Teotihuacan, to plan the creation of the fifth sun. The arrogant god Tecuciztecatl volunteered himself to be the new Sun and bring light to the Earth. The gods agreed to this and asked Nanahuatzin, a modest god, to accompany the proud Tecuciztecatl.
After doing penance in the two hills erected especially for them, the two gods, dressed in their ritual regalia, were ready to sacrifice themselves by jumping into a ritual bonfire at Teotihuacan. Tecuciztecatl felt fear to jump into the bonfire, so the first god to sacrifice himself was Nanahuatzin, also known as the Proxy One, and who was dressed modestly, showing his humble nature. Bravely, he threw himself into the fire without hesitation. He then rose to the heavens, first appearing in the east as the Sun and a proud new god, now named Tonatiuh. Ashamed, Tecuciztecatl then jumped into the fire, rising to the heavens to become the Moon. However, so as not to usurp the brightness of the Sun, one of the gods threw a rabbit up at the Moon, thus dimming its brightness and forever emblazoning the rabbit’s image on the Moon’s face for future generations to witness. To continue bathing the world with his solar rays, Tonatiuh demanded blood from the other gods in order to move along his course. Upon witnessing the bravery displayed by these two gods, the other gods agreed to sacrifice themselves and embraced death, thereby ensuring the Sun’s radiance and movement across the sky. Quetzalcoatl began to pull the hearts from the gods with a sacrificial blade. Therefore, to ensure the Sun’s movement, subsequent humans had to be sacrificed in order to thank and appease the deity Tonatiuh.
Consequently, Teotihuacan, whose Nahuatl name means “place where they become gods,” is the site of the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, commemorating the gods Nanahuatzin, who became the sun god Tonatiuh, and Tecuciztecatl, who became the god of the Moon. The ancient city marks where the fifth sun was created.