The Egyptians observed the nights of the new moon and the full moon as monthly holidays, commemorating the symbolic death (new) and rebirth (full) of Asar (Osiris). In addition, there were many annual festivals celebrating various mythical and historical personages and events. Generally speaking, each temple had a calendar of its own religious holidays, but owing to the theocratic tendencies of the Egyptian cities, some of these holidays spread in popularity to become more widely celebrated.
Some of the more popular festivals, feasts, and holidays are listed below.
Wepet, or Wepet-Renpet
New Year's Day; coincided with first appearance of Sothis (Sirius) at approximately the time of the Northern Hemisphere's Summer Solstice (June 21).
Night of the Tear
Celebrated the start of the inundation of the Nile. Ast's (Isis') tears of mourning over the death of Asar (Osiris) are said to cause the Nile to flood, which in turn brings life to Egypt.
Festival of Sokaris
Takes place at the end of the inundation of the Nile.
Celebration of Asar's Beauty
Celebrated at the start of Proyet, the season of planting.
Lamentations of Ast and Nebt-Het
Coincides roughly with our Winter Solstice, December 21st, and represents the mourning over the newly-reassembled corpse of Asar and the posthumous conception of his son, Heru (Horus).
Festival of the Djed Pillar
First day of Shemu. Festivities included the raising of the Djed Pillar (sacred to Asar and symbolic of the rule of morality and justice) and a mock battle between the forces of good and evil. Represents the ascension of Asar to the throne of the underworld.
Festival of the Coming Forth of Minu
Celebrated at harvest time. Minu was a fertility god, depicted as a man with an erect penis wearing a plumed crown with a streamer.
Beautiful Feast of the Valley
In the month of Paoni. A celebration in honor of Amun, which included a public procession of a statue of the god. Feasts were held to honor the dead.
Festival of Amentet
Part of the festival involved men commemorating their sons or fathers.
Feast of Hathor
Celebrated at Dendera, the center of Hathor's cult. Reinactment of the story of Hathor destruction of mankind at Ra's bequest; mankind was spared when Hathor was tricked into believing that the red beer that had been spilled in the fields was the blood of the last men.
Fall of the Nile
Festival of the Two Bulls
Festival of the Tail
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