Ancient Egyptian Festivals

There were many festivals that the Ancient Egyptians would celebrate throughout the year.  Sometimes, the festivals were national while others were just local festivals that were in the town.

Festivals

There are many festivals that the Ancient Egyptians had such as the Sky Festival, the Festival of the Potter’s Wheel, the New Year Festival and more.  Some areas might have even 50 different festivals in one year.  Sometimes, there was more than one festival happening at the same time that another festival was going on.

What Would the Egyptians Do at the Festival?

When there was a festival, sometimes there were a lot of religious things that the Ancient Egyptians would do.  Sometimes, there were funerals that were festivals and sometimes there were festivals to worship the gods.

Most of the time, the festivals were meant to be fun and full of joy.  People would walk around, and they would be happy and there would be many people that would come to the festivals.

People at the festival would sell food and things that people could buy.

Most of the festivals would have music and parades that would go up and down the streets.  The priest usually would carry banners or a statue of the god of that city.

Sometimes, when people would move the statue of a god form one temple to another temple, they would do this as part of the festival.

Musicians

There would be musicians at the festivals, and they would sing, play rattles and do dancing.  These musicians were important to help keep the festival lively.

Shrines for the gods

There were usually many shrines set up around the town during a festival.  These shrines would be of the gods and they would be set up to honor the different gods and goddesses.

Dreams

In some festivals, the priest would set up a table and he would charge money or goods to interpret the dreams of the people.  The people would line up and the priest would give out the meaning of his or her dream.

Parade

The parade would go over and over so that no one would miss it.  If the festival lasted all day, the parade would go around all day allowing people to celebrate with them.

Offerings

During many festivals, the people would bring offerings to the gods.  This was a huge part of most of the ceremonies.  Most of the offerings would be food or goods.  When there was extra food left over from the ceremony, the priests would pass out the extra food to the people that gathered to celebrate.

Popular Festivals

There were three festivals that were the most popular festivals, and these included the Wepet Renpet, the Festival of Opet and the Festival of Khoiak.

Wepet Renpet

The Wepet Renpet festival was the New Year’s festival and it meant “opener of the year.”  In the Ancient Egyptian times, this festival was not held on the same day each year, but it was held when the flood happened.

The people could tell when the flood was coming by the stars.  When the brightest star, Sirius was not able to be seen for over 70 days, the Ancient Egyptians knew it was time of the flood to come.

The New Year’s festival or the Wepet Renpet was meant to be a time of renewal and during this, the people would have many different meals and feasts.

Festival of Opet

The Festival of Opet was three weeks long and it was to celebrate three of the gods.  This festival took place in Thebes and everyone would have a huge feast.

During this festival, the people would give gifts for the gods and they would be taken to the temple and given to the priest so the priest could give them to the gods.

Festival of Khoiak

The Festival of Khoiak was a time when the people celebrated the death of Osiris who was killed by his brother, Seth.  This festival celebrated that Osiris died but that he rose back up.

This festival lasted for 30 days and the people would make pottery where they would plant flowers to show their love for the gods.

More Facts About Ancient Egyptian Festivals:

  • When the Ancient Egyptians gathered to worship, there was usually a festival.
  • The point of the festivals was to give thanks to the gods and to give them gifts.
  • The priests would be there to talk to the gods and to give people answers from the gods.
  • The statues of the gods were brought out to many of the festivals because the gods were thought to live in the statues.
  • The Wag Festival was a festival where the people would make boats and put them on the graves.
  • It is believed that the first festivals happened during the Middle Kingdom.
  • The people would go to the festivals to ask the gods questions.

What Did You Learn?

  1. What did the Ancient Egyptians do at the festivals?  The Ancient Egyptians would go to the festivals and they would dance, watch the parades, eat and talk to the priests and the gods.
  2. How many festivals did a town have in a year? Some towns could have up to 50 different festivals in a year.
  3. What did the priest do at the festivals? The priest would carry statues of the gods or would interpret dreams.  He would also talk to the gods to give people answer to their questions.
  4. Why would the statues of the gods be carried around? The statue of the gods would be carried around because the people believed that the gods lived in the statues.
  5. Were the festivals sad? No!  The Ancient Egyptians festivals were a fun time where people would laugh and have a great time.