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Author Topic: The Timing of Kemetic Holidays/Festivals  (Read 9190 times)
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« Topic Start: October 20, 2009, 12:25:54 am »

I recently posted this on another board, so if this is a repeat for you, I apologize.

I've always wondered about this, and I'd like to get your opinions on this.

Kemetic festivals (like most pagan festivals) revolved around the earth and it's seasons. You celebrated Innundation, harvesting, sowing your seeds, etc. It was all related to how the seasons were going. However, most of the Kemetic seasons don't match up with ours (from what I've read- if I'm wrong, please correct me). They planted seeds in the latter half of the year- when most of our areas are getting too cold to grow anything. They harvested their crops when we're just barely getting around to planting ours. Etc. etc.

The reason I'm bringing this up is, to some degree, I wonder if we lose part of the meaning- celebrating festivals that are technically out of season for us. I know one guy who celebrates (I think it's Mysteries of Wesir) the planting festivals in spring, because he believes it makes more sense to do it when the earth is actually growing, like it would have been for them. Etc. So I'm wondering- do you agree with this? Or do you think it's better to stick to the times that they Egyptians celebrated because it's what they did?
-Devo
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« Reply #1: October 20, 2009, 01:53:21 pm »

The reason I'm bringing this up is, to some degree, I wonder if we lose part of the meaning- celebrating festivals that are technically out of season for us. I know one guy who celebrates (I think it's Mysteries of Wesir) the planting festivals in spring, because he believes it makes more sense to do it when the earth is actually growing, like it would have been for them. Etc. So I'm wondering- do you agree with this? Or do you think it's better to stick to the times that they Egyptians celebrated because it's what they did?

I'm somewhat torn on this.  I think there is some value in the sequence of festivals as done by the ancients, that some of them probably linked together in an order in addition to fitting into parts of the agricultural year.  At the same time, the Mysteries of Wesir are a planting festival, damnit.

One of the things I've pondered is doing a sort of double-acknowledgement of things.  I hadn't gotten as far as considering how to deal with the Mysteries, but for example, I was thinking when I got my own calendar sorted I would standardise New Year's Day in relation to the solar cycle and have a new festival for the heliacal rising of Sirius in my location.
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« Reply #2: October 21, 2009, 10:55:09 am »

I'm somewhat torn on this.  I think there is some value in the sequence of festivals as done by the ancients, that some of them probably linked together in an order in addition to fitting into parts of the agricultural year.  At the same time, the Mysteries of Wesir are a planting festival, damnit.

One of the things I've pondered is doing a sort of double-acknowledgement of things.  I hadn't gotten as far as considering how to deal with the Mysteries, but for example, I was thinking when I got my own calendar sorted I would standardise New Year's Day in relation to the solar cycle and have a new festival for the heliacal rising of Sirius in my location.

I don't expect a concrete, 100% answer that works for everyone, but I do think that it really is something people should think about. Esp. when so many people are trying to reconstruct the religion exactly as it was (but at what price- if the seasons don't match up). So I thought I'd see what people think.
-Devo
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« Reply #3: October 21, 2009, 06:47:09 pm »

I recently posted this on another board, so if this is a repeat for you, I apologize.

I've always wondered about this, and I'd like to get your opinions on this.

Kemetic festivals (like most pagan festivals) revolved around the earth and it's seasons. You celebrated Innundation, harvesting, sowing your seeds, etc. It was all related to how the seasons were going. However, most of the Kemetic seasons don't match up with ours (from what I've read- if I'm wrong, please correct me). They planted seeds in the latter half of the year- when most of our areas are getting too cold to grow anything. They harvested their crops when we're just barely getting around to planting ours. Etc. etc.

The reason I'm bringing this up is, to some degree, I wonder if we lose part of the meaning- celebrating festivals that are technically out of season for us. I know one guy who celebrates (I think it's Mysteries of Wesir) the planting festivals in spring, because he believes it makes more sense to do it when the earth is actually growing, like it would have been for them. Etc. So I'm wondering- do you agree with this? Or do you think it's better to stick to the times that they Egyptians celebrated because it's what they did?
-Devo

This is a good question, and it is something that might be worth-while to ask in more in general.

For example, should a European tradition Neo-pagan celebrate a may day on may 1st if they are in Australia?  I know that it is traditional in Australia for the Christmas/Yule traditions is now to go to the beach and enjoy the summer.   
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« Reply #4: October 22, 2009, 06:43:04 pm »

I recently posted this on another board, so if this is a repeat for you, I apologize.

I've always wondered about this, and I'd like to get your opinions on this.

Kemetic festivals (like most pagan festivals) revolved around the earth and it's seasons. You celebrated Innundation, harvesting, sowing your seeds, etc. It was all related to how the seasons were going. However, most of the Kemetic seasons don't match up with ours (from what I've read- if I'm wrong, please correct me). They planted seeds in the latter half of the year- when most of our areas are getting too cold to grow anything. They harvested their crops when we're just barely getting around to planting ours. Etc. etc.

The reason I'm bringing this up is, to some degree, I wonder if we lose part of the meaning- celebrating festivals that are technically out of season for us. I know one guy who celebrates (I think it's Mysteries of Wesir) the planting festivals in spring, because he believes it makes more sense to do it when the earth is actually growing, like it would have been for them. Etc. So I'm wondering- do you agree with this? Or do you think it's better to stick to the times that they Egyptians celebrated because it's what they did?
-Devo

I guess it really depends upon personal preference. Some people are going to want to stick as close to the ancient Egyptian calendar as possible. They'll want to be as close to the source as they can get, even if it means celebrating the planting festivals in the middle of our winter season. Some people are going to do their best to correlate the ancient Egyptian calendar to a modern day calendar because, as you pointed out, it makes more sense.

Since I don't celebrate every holiday at present, but commemorate specific ones, I tend to go with the days listed on the ancient Egyptian calendar. However, when it comes to passing on Sekhmet pendants in honor of the new year, I follow our New Year. So, I guess my personal preference is whatever feels best to me.
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« Reply #5: October 22, 2009, 09:05:01 pm »

They'll want to be as close to the source as they can get, even if it means celebrating the planting festivals in the middle of our winter season.

Do you feel that the people who correlate with the ancient calendar, regardless of our seasons lose something in the process? Or perhaps have a harder time connecting with the true meaning of the holiday?
-Devo
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« Reply #6: October 23, 2009, 03:41:55 pm »

Do you feel that the people who correlate with the ancient calendar, regardless of our seasons lose something in the process? Or perhaps have a harder time connecting with the true meaning of the holiday?
-Devo

After having re-read what I wrote, I realize that, well, yeah, I do believe that. I think they have a harder time connecting with the true meaning of the holiday because of the timing. If you're celebrating a planting festival, one would probably find it easier to celebrate it in the middle of the planting season as opposed to deep winter. It's hard to be thankful for all of the changes in the seasons when you're busy freezing your booty off.  Wink
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« Reply #7: October 23, 2009, 05:08:01 pm »

It's hard to be thankful for all of the changes in the seasons when you're busy freezing your booty off.  Wink
lmao. That's pretty good, and rather true. I'm glad to see that some people see no problem with changing the festivals to match our current seasons. It doesn't seem to be a wide spread practice (rearranging festivals), much less something that people take into consideration (esp. those of the 100% recon route), but I think it is something we should consider.
-Devo
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« Reply #8: October 24, 2009, 06:12:16 pm »

lmao. That's pretty good, and rather true. I'm glad to see that some people see no problem with changing the festivals to match our current seasons. It doesn't seem to be a wide spread practice (rearranging festivals), much less something that people take into consideration (esp. those of the 100% recon route), but I think it is something we should consider.
-Devo

I suppose I wouldn't feel so strongly about it if I was lucky enough to live in a place where my seasonal changes weren't as drastic as it is in Massachusetts.  Smiley

And truly, I don't think the gods would mind if I rearranged a few things to suit my seasonal needs/desires. I worship them and I give them respect/offerings every day. I don't think the timing of the festival matters insomuch as the intent behind it. If I'm moving things around just because I feel like it, then that's an entire kettle of fish.
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« Reply #9: October 26, 2009, 09:44:35 am »

lmao. That's pretty good, and rather true. I'm glad to see that some people see no problem with changing the festivals to match our current seasons. It doesn't seem to be a wide spread practice (rearranging festivals), much less something that people take into consideration (esp. those of the 100% recon route), but I think it is something we should consider.
-Devo

Great thread! I guess I'm lucky, because somehow the Kemetic seasons line up extremely well with my own internal experience of the seasons. Going by the HoN calendar calculations, where the seasons fall very roughly as follows:

Akhet (Inundation) = August through November
Peret (Growing) = December through March
Shomu (Summer) = April through July

Inundation is the season of change and renewal--the flood sweeps away all that's before it and lays down a rich silt in its wake. I "feel" autumn first getting under way in August, and for me it's a time of intense new energy, of upheaval and also beginnings. It's a clearing time, a cleansing time.

Growing starts with planting, with seeds tucked away into the dark, and December is the dark time, after which the light begins to grow again. Stillness, followed by very gradual growth--sometimes a bit touch and go, a bit inclement, a bit harsh. This is the season when you have to be attentive and care for things, yet at the same time there's a limit to how much you can actually do to make things move forward. The process of growth has to happen by itself, in its own time. I start feeling spring in early February--even if it's still cold and wintery, that energy is beginning--and by March the first crocuses are out (at least where I am, in New Jersey), the first visible signs of the growth that's been going on.

Then in Summer, everything is burgeoning, all the flowers are coming out, all the beauty and completeness. It's the time when I go berry picking, too. And then hot, hot, hot, and humid, and breathless, so my energy flags and falters and I can hardly wait for autumn to sweep in again.

Of course, I'm not a gardener, so none of this is really grounded in the practicalities of actually planting and growing things--it's more metaphorical, for me. But it seems to work, nevertheless.  Smiley

-L

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« Reply #10: October 26, 2009, 08:12:59 pm »

Great thread! I guess I'm lucky, because somehow the Kemetic seasons line up extremely well with my own internal experience of the seasons. Going by the HoN calendar calculations, where the seasons fall very roughly as follows:

Akhet (Inundation) = August through November
Peret (Growing) = December through March
Shomu (Summer) = April through July

Inundation is the season of change and renewal--the flood sweeps away all that's before it and lays down a rich silt in its wake. I "feel" autumn first getting under way in August, and for me it's a time of intense new energy, of upheaval and also beginnings. It's a clearing time, a cleansing time.

Growing starts with planting, with seeds tucked away into the dark, and December is the dark time, after which the light begins to grow again. Stillness, followed by very gradual growth--sometimes a bit touch and go, a bit inclement, a bit harsh. This is the season when you have to be attentive and care for things, yet at the same time there's a limit to how much you can actually do to make things move forward. The process of growth has to happen by itself, in its own time. I start feeling spring in early February--even if it's still cold and wintery, that energy is beginning--and by March the first crocuses are out (at least where I am, in New Jersey), the first visible signs of the growth that's been going on.

Then in Summer, everything is burgeoning, all the flowers are coming out, all the beauty and completeness. It's the time when I go berry picking, too. And then hot, hot, hot, and humid, and breathless, so my energy flags and falters and I can hardly wait for autumn to sweep in again.

Of course, I'm not a gardener, so none of this is really grounded in the practicalities of actually planting and growing things--it's more metaphorical, for me. But it seems to work, nevertheless.  Smiley

-L



Wow. I really appreciate your interpretation of the seasonal changes in regards to the four seasons we have as opposed to the three of the ancient Egyptian calendar. Thanks for sharing!
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« Reply #11: October 26, 2009, 08:38:28 pm »

Great thread! I guess I'm lucky, because somehow the Kemetic seasons line up extremely well with my own internal experience of the seasons. Going by the HoN calendar calculations, where the seasons fall very roughly as follows:

Thanks for that post.  I think you shed a lot of light on this subject. 

W00t.
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« Reply #12: December 05, 2009, 06:06:31 pm »

I'm somewhat torn on this.  I think there is some value in the sequence of festivals as done by the ancients, that some of them probably linked together in an order in addition to fitting into parts of the agricultural year.  At the same time, the Mysteries of Wesir are a planting festival, damnit.

One of the things I've pondered is doing a sort of double-acknowledgement of things.  I hadn't gotten as far as considering how to deal with the Mysteries, but for example, I was thinking when I got my own calendar sorted I would standardise New Year's Day in relation to the solar cycle and have a new festival for the heliacal rising of Sirius in my location.

This is how I do it as well. Its hard for me to correspond the festivals to my own particular climate (which has a very long winter ... except for this year; yay for global climate change!). I can't, in good spirits, say its a "growing of the soul" festival when its really supposed to be a "growing of the seeds" festival. It just doesn't work. And I already have enough problems with Anthesteria.

Honestly, if it a festival that doesn't have a primary agricultural dependence, then it can be moved after serious thought, or kept exactly where it is, or possibly scrapped entirely. And if it IS a primarily agricultural festival.. AND its a major festival related to A Certain God.. then perhaps it might have to stay.. or moved after discussion with Certain God's approval.

I suppose thats why I had such a hard time trying to adapt to the Kemetic calendar.. then just not using it all that much except for the helical rising of Sirius over my hometown; even if I moved the calendar around, one season was always out of the loop. And thats just disconcerting. I can't celebrate the warmest part of the year in the spring, or the flooding during fall (when the actual flooding of the local rivers is in Spring). It's just.. weird.
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« Reply #13: January 17, 2010, 04:15:33 pm »

I wonder if we lose part of the meaning- celebrating festivals that are technically out of season for us. I know one guy who celebrates (I think it's Mysteries of Wesir) the planting festivals in spring, because he believes it makes more sense to do it when the earth is actually growing, like it would have been for them. Etc. So I'm wondering- do you agree with this? Or do you think it's better to stick to the times that they Egyptians celebrated because it's what they did?
-Devo

I was just thinking of this myself. I was looking at their festival calender as I am looking in to blending kemetism with my eclectic wiccan path and I thought that it would strange to celebrate festivals when they really have nothing to do with my life. I can celebrate the wheel of the year as even though I am not a farmer, I can see the season change around me and affect my every day life.
Over in Egypt however their seasons are different. Why would I celebrate something that doesn't affect me? So maybe I can take note of the days and honour them (but not have a formal celebration of them) and then on days celebrating deities then I can celebrate on the actual historic day.
Or really when they celebrated the innudation I can celebrate it over here maybe at the according time of season for England as long as I see it as Osiris making the land fertile?

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« Reply #14: January 19, 2010, 07:24:05 pm »

Or really when they celebrated the innudation I can celebrate it over here maybe at the according time of season for England as long as I see it as Osiris making the land fertile?

This is what a lot of people I know have done. They've taken a slightly more abstract view of it, which it does work well with. Quite a lot have gone so abstract as to attribute what were once strictly literal farming seasons and festivals, to spiritual growth.
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