Sunday, 29 May 2011

Calendar Entry #11: Offerings to Hapi and Amun

We continue our journey through the Cauldrons Calendar feast/festival/holidays.
Offerings to Hapi
Hapi is the Nile god (not to be confused with Hapy/Hapi - the son of Horus).  Worshipping of Hapi occurred in both temples and on the river Nile itself.  The annual flooding of the Nile was a very important part of life both in ancient and also modern times.  When the Nile floods the floodwaters deposit nutrient-rich sediment on the plains, creating fertile soil.  The annual floods were attributed to Hapi in ancient times, and offerings of food were thrown into the river because the people knew that if the floods were insufficient then there was a risk of famine.  Prayers and offerings for Hapi were for the floods but also the other blessings the river brought like fish, lotus, papyrus.  Things that the Egyptians used in daily life. 
Follow this link to read the longest surviving hymn to the Nile flood; a literary composition in Middle Egyptian, of uncertain date.
Offerings to Amun

Amun depicted with cow offerings from
the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

Amun rose to become one of the most important god figures in Ancient Egypt.  He was the patron god of Thebes, and when Thebes became the capital during the Eighteenth Dynasty, Amun became more nationally recognised.  
Offerings have been recorded as being made in the form of grain, floral arrangements as well as cows.  
Hatshepsut claimed the right to rule by declaring that she was the daughter of the sun god Amun.  The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut in Deir el Bahari on the west bank of the Nile near the Valley of the Kings is full of pictures of him receiving her gifts, although subsequent rulers had evidence of her removed from the temple. 

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