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Sacred Festivals/Rituals in Egypt
Transcript of Sacred Festivals/Rituals in Egypt
Karina Villalobos Egyptian Sacred Festivals/Rituals SACRED RITUALS What is a Ritual - a special event in time and space, organized in terms of a shared sequence of symbols, formal acts, and serving the goals, values and expectations of an individual, group, society,or a world order.
Without doubts, Egyptian religion was highly ritualistic, involving daily ceremonial activities (complex rituals celebrating the Divine) and regular, popular festivals, or public celebrations
Central to Egyptian religion was 'Maat' - the rightful order of the universe, established by the gods at the beginning of time. Maat was crucial to human life and included ideas of truth, justice and moderation. If Maat was lost, the country could experience chaos RITUALS RITUALS Heb-Sed Festival Also referred to as just the Sed-Festival
One of the oldest feasts of ancient Egypt
Celebrated by the king after about 30 years of rule; then repeated every 3 years after that
Festival was a celebration or "jubilee" and represented a ritual reenactment of the unification of Egypt The Beautiful Feast of Opet (Also known as Opet Festival) The Beautiful Feast of the Valley
Centered in Thebes
Looked forward by the Egyptians
Allowed the living to commune with their loved ones in the afterlife
Celebrated every year during the second month of Shomu
Can be traced back to the Middle Kingdom Festival of Sokar •Also known as Seker, was the god of the dead Patron of the workers who built the Memphite necropolis and the craftsmen who made tomb artifacts and of those who made ritual objects used in mummification
• "Lord of the mysterious region"
•"great god with his two wings opened"; falcon-like
•Married to Sekmet, the goddess of healing for Upper Egypt references Spencer, Patricia (2003) Dance in the Ancient World, Near Eastern Archaeology, Vol.66, No.3,
pp. 111-121. Published by: The American Schools of Oriental. Retrieved from:
Stadler, Martin, (2008). Procession. In Jacco Dieleman and Willeke Wendrich (eds.), UCLA
Encyclopedia of Egyptology, Los Angeles. Retrieved from:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved from:
www.britannica.com/EB checked/topic/180644/Egyptian-art-and-architecture Preparations Years before the festival was even proclaimed, the royal tombs and temples were being readied
Stone kiosks were decorated with scenes to be reinacted during the festival
Shrines built for sacred images and statues of the gods
Preparation of the special palace/palaces to be used by the king during the festival ceremonies
"I celebrated for thee the first Sed-festival of my reign as a very great festival of Tatjanen...I made a renewing of they temple and the Houses of the Sed-festival which were formerly in ruins since the (former) kings. I wrought upon they Ennead, the lords of Heb-sed, in gold, silver, and precious stones as before." The Procession -At the head of the first register of the procession were learned men of the scriptorium carrying rolls of writing
-Important officials called "the god's mouth" were at the top of the register
-Prince with a curved wand led the procession, followed by two fan-bearers each called a "companion"
-At the head of the second register was shown the "divine mother of Siut" ...and behind that was a shrine of "Wepwawet, lord of Siut"
-Third register consisted of prophets: one carrying a large bow, several others carrying small Wepwawet standards ...
-At the rear was the king, followed by the queen Rites Lighting of the lamp
Burning of the incense
The secret rites in the tomb = climax of the festival
The four running ceremonies --> these were to demonstrate that the king had returned his vigor and was fully able to continue ruling Egypt and bring prosperity
Final appearance in the city to end the festival What is “Opet”? The word “Opet” means “Secret Chamber” and referred to rooms within the sanctuary of Amun-Re of Luxor in Amenhotep III’s temple. This is a depiction of offerings consecrated to Amun-Re in his processional bark.
What is the Opet festival? The Beautiful Feast of Opet is an annual ancient Egyptian festival that was held in Thebes during the New Kingdom period from (1550 -1069 BCE). It was a time of Eqypt’s famous Pharohs such as Sety I and Ramesses II. It was a ceremony that lasted twenty seven days. Ramesses II When did the festival occur? The annual festival originated at the beginning of the Nile’s three month flood season. The Egyptians used a solar lunar calendar to determine the specific date to begin the festival. This is a depiction of the various drawings and pictures of Amun. the significance The Opet festival was linked to agricultural seasons and local politics. The annual event honored the god Amun-Re of Karnak. The statues of the gods Amun and Mut were hidden from sight in a scared barque and taken to the temple of Luxor. The portable barque was carried on poles by priests from temple to temple. The Journey was around two miles. The Pharoh was honored by the procession of priests, soldiers, singers, dancers, drummers, musicians and chariots. Many Egyptians had the rare opportunity to view the inside of temples during the festival event. foods The 27 day festival served large amounts of meat, loaves of bread and cakes. The main type of drink was beer. These foods were prepared in mass quantities days before the feast. The processional had to be fed throughout their trip to the temples. This is a picture of the temple of Amun at Karnak, Egypt. entertainment Ancient Egyptian dancers played musical instruments during festivals and other events. Sokar…...the god behind the Festival The Story •During the Middle Kingdom, the festival was held in Memphis, the first capital of Egypt
•During the New Kingdom it was held in Thebes
•The merging with Ptah, the chief god of Memphis then with Osiris, god of the Dead The Festival • 4th month of akhet (Sowing/Spring months)
•Egyptians performed the rituals of hoeing the earth and driving cattle
•Statue of Sokar was carried from his temple on a Henu barque to assist the king in ceremonial activities including
•All activities and jobs went on holiday to celebrate
•People wore garlands of onions and celebrated late into the night paying tribute to Sokar and those that had passed over.
•In the ceremony, after hoeing the earth, and digging ditches and canals, seeds were sown in earth shaped in molds to the form of Osiris Sokar Funerary Braque the end - thank you special treat! (the new kingdom) heb nefer en inet The Barque Celebration began at Karnak temple on the east bank
Bow and stern of the barque are decorated with the ram head of Amun
Images of the god Amun was accompanied by the images of his wife Mut and their child, Khonsu.
It was carried down to the Nile on the shoulders of 24 priests
They travel from the temple at Karnak to visit the funerary temples of deceased kings on the West Bank and their shrines to the Netjeru of the West At the Riverside Shrines were loaded onto barges and towed across the Nile to the west to visit the pharaohs mortuary temple and the temples of other gods.
This barque then crossed the Nile on the Userhet
A flotilla of smaller boats followed the barge on the Nile
In this limestone relief from Deir el Medina, Ramesses II offers incense to the divine image of Amun-Ra.
This journey was attended by a very joyous and colorful procession of Egypt's citizens.
A time of great rejoicing for the people of Kemet Celebration The procession ended at the necropolis that was filled with tomb chapels
Egyptians honored their dead relatives
There was much celebration and feasting
The people would spend the night sleeping in the funerary chapels of the blessed dead
Their akhu might then communicate with them in dreams. Festival carried on In different ways, this festival is still present in some customs of modern Egypt and other cultures where people celebrate a holiday on the grass of cemeteries in which their dead ancestors are buried November 27th, 2012 different rituals Diurnal rituals-(the rehearsal of life) These rituals only happened in the temples and were initiated by the "hour-priests" on their watchtowers, recording their ideas on the stars and the planets.- Evidence of constant celebration of life and order
The Daily Ritual - was one of a series of cultic rituals performed for the statue of the god by temple priests each day. Performed in the morning after the first light of dawn
In magical rituals, the intention was to shield or to destroy; to protect, to defend, to heal, or to restore a state of affairs or the reversal of misfortune caused by negative energies.
In all Egyptian religious rituals, magic is a functional element, ascribed to specific priestly functions and magical instruments significance The Egyptians believed that the gods themselves had established the correct form of the rituals, and along with the celebration of annual festivals, these acts were considered imperative for securing the continuing beneficence of the divinities
Egyptian culture attached a great deal of importance to burial rituals. The buildings, prayers and ceremonies were mainly designed to reflect the status of a person in life and help them keep their status in death. Festivals and processions The festivals were ceremonies (a network of rituals) returning very year and intended to keep the order (maat) of creation active on Earth. Essential they were royal rituals in which the Pharaoh invoked the deities and (re)established his divine rule, affirming his authority and drawing to him all the resources of the "Two Lands".
These Egyptian festivals had extreme dramatic intensity and could be called “gigantic ritualistic performances”, wherein gods, goddesses, Pharaohs, the priests, musicians and dancers (re)enacted the myths with massive offerings
In some rituals, the common people could also join, and after all the food had been put "in front of" the deities it was redistributed among them.