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The Ancient Egyptian Year

Ancient Egyptian Year

The Seasons

The Egyptians divided their year into 12 months, these were determined by the Nile rather than by strict time spans. The months have been labelled as months which we would recognise today to give the illusion of the temperature, weather and season, they should not be accepted with strict adherence. These seasons are as follows: –

Season of the Inundation “The Akhet”

Month 1: June/July                 Month of the God Thoth

The month that the Goddess Isis cried her tears of sorrow for her dead husband Osiris thereby creating the Flood

Day 1               New Year: Rahorakhty birthday

Day 15             Offerings to the Gods Hapi and Amun to ensure a good flood

Day 17             Eve of the Wag festival

Day 18             Wag festival

Day 19             Wag and Thoth festival

Day 20             The Day of Tekh (drunkenness)

Day 22             Great Procession of God Osiris

Month 2: July/August             Month of the God Menkhet 

Day 15             Opet Festival for God Amun and the Theban Triad in Thebes

11-day Festival during Pharaoh Thutmose III’s reign, as recorded at Elephantine Temple

27-day Festival at the time of Pharaoh Ramesses III, as recorded at Medinet Habu

Day 18             Local Festival of Khnum and Anuqet at Elephantine

Day 27             2-day local Festival of Mont, may have been a one-off

Day 28             Local Festival of Satet and Anuqet at Elephantine Island

Day 28             Menkhet Festival, the Festival of Cloth


Month 3: August/September             Month of the Goddess Hathor

Day 9               Festival for God Amun

Day 30             Local Festival of Anuqet at Elephantine Island


Month 4: September/October                       Month of Nehebkau

Day 1               Festival for Goddess Hathor

Day 18             Beginning of Khoiak Festival for the Osiris Story

Day 22             Khoiak Festival Ceremony: Ploughing the Earth

Day 26             Khoiak Festival Ceremony: Sokar Festival

Day 30             Khoiak Festival Ceremony: Raising the Djed Pillar

Season of the Emergence “The Peret”

Month 5: October/November                        Month of Shefbedet

First of Peret                                                   Season of Sowing

Day 1               Festival of Nehebkau: “Beginning of Eternity”

Day 20             Sailing of Wadjyt: Inscription for Thutmose III at the Temple of Mut, Karnak

Day 29             Sailing of Bast: Inscription for Thutmose III at the Temple of Mut, Karnak

Day 29             Festival of Raising the Willow

Day 30             Sailing of Shesmet: Inscription for Thutmose III at the Temple of Mut, Karnak


Month 6: November/December                    Month of Rekehwer

Second of Peret         

Day 1               Sailing of Anubis

Day 30             First day of ‘Amun-in-the-festival-of-raising-heaven’/’the day of bringing branches of the tree’

Month 7: December/January                         Month of Rekehnedjes

Third of Peret 

Day 1               Last day of ‘Amun-in-the-festival-of-raising-heaven’/’the day of bringing branches of the tree’ Ceremony of filling the sacred eye in Iunu

Day 1               Festival of Ptah

Day 21             Festival of Pharaoh Amenhotep I in the Valley

Day 29             4-day Festival of Pharaoh Amenhotep I


Month 8: January/February                           Month of Renenutet

Fourth of Peret          

Day 4               Festival of Bast

Day 5               Appearance of Bast in her boat

Day 25             Harvest offering to Renenutet

Day 27             Granary offering to Renenutet

Season of Harvest “The Shemu“ or “Low Water”

Month 9: February/March                             Month of Khonsu

First of Low Water or Shemu

Not referring to the level of the Nile as it varied yearly, but referring to when the Nile water was low enough for the collection of the grain harvest

Day 1               Festival of Renenutet

Day 10             Adoration of Anubis

Day 11             4-day Festival of Min


Month 10: March/April                                  Month of Khentkhety

Second of Low Water or Shemu

Festival of the Valley of the Theban Necropolis, celebrated at the New Moon, in which the image of Amun of Karnak on the East Bank, Thebes is taken to Temples for the Cult on West Bank and is considered to be a period for the family to feast with their dead

Month 11: April/May

Month of Ipet-Hemet

Third of Low Water or Shemu           

Day 30             Eve of the Hathor: Festival at Thebes


Month 12: May/June

Fourth of Low Water or Shemu

Day 30             Eve of start of the year

The Extra 5 Days

Extra Days to make up a year of 365 days per year:

  • Birthday of Osiris
  • Birthday of Horus
  • Birthday of Seth
  • Birthday of Isis
  • Birthday of Nephthys

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