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Festival of the Djed

Ancient Egyptian Year

What: Festival where a pillar resembling a Djed was built and lifted in honour of the God Osiris

Where: Throughout Egypt, held by the local Temples but main site was at Abydos, Osiris’ Cult Centre 

When: Held yearly from the end of the Old Kingdom in the period between the sewing of the fields and the harvest would begin. Usually from 13th to 30th day of the Koiak

Who: Represents the God Osiris bring resurrected from the dead

Why: The Djed is the symbol for stability. Written, spoken and the concept of stability and the durability of Royalty, the Priesthood and Egypt. It had to be celebrated

What happened at the Festival?

The Pharaoh, with the help of his Great Royal Wife and some priests, raised a wooden Djed pillar using ropes. The Pillar, in some settings, has a human body made to look like the God Osiris with its hands holding the crook and flail. Its head is the symbol of the Djed and it wears a feather crown with a solar disk. The Pillar is gifted offerings of food and drinks from dancing and singing men and women.

What Performances happened?

  • the deception and murder of God Osiris by his brother, God Set
  • the search for God Osiris by his wife, Goddess Isis 
  • God Osiris’ mummification, funeral and his resurrection

These performances involved hundreds of Priests and Priestess’ in the role of the Gods and Goddesses’

  • 34 reed boats carried the Deities
  • Which carried an ornamental Chest containing Osiris in sculpture form 
  • And an elaborate lamp for each day of the year 
  • Also, Incense to defuse the Festival 
  • With Dozens of Djed amulets

What happened at the Festival?

On 25th day of Koiak, the poem, “Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys” describing Isis and Nephthys’ search for Osiris is recited. Abydos is the main Temple to host the Festival as it is the Cult Centre for Osiris, but re-enactments were conducted at Dendera, Edfu, Busiris, Memphis and Philae.

 

How do we know about the Festival?

Shown in a Relief in Amenhotep III’s Luxor Temple and the act of raising the Djed has been explained as representing Osiris’s triumph over Set.