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1994. Thoth and the Calendars. In A. Spalinger, ed., _Revolutions in Time: Studies in Ancient Egyptian Calendrics_: 45-60. Varia Aegyptiaca Supplement 6. San Antonio: Van Siclen Books.
[The author studies the reasons for the dating of the ubiquitous nationally based feast of Thoth, which is located in the Egyptian civil calendar one day following that of /wAgy/. After introductory remarks on Parker's Calendars and section on the historical lunar and civil calendars, the author turns to the chronological ordering of the first four feasts mentioned in the O.K. mastabas (/wpt-rnpt/ - /DHwtyt/ - /tpy rnpt/ - /wAgy/) and examines the special relation of the feast of Thoth, the moon god, to day 19 of the first civil calendar month (I akhet 19). Since /wAgy/ is generally understood to precede on I akhet 18, the data can be reconciled by assuming that /DHwtyt/ is civil year-based and the /wAgy/ referred to is the moveable one. At the end the author concludes that there is no need to posit three calendars in the historical period of Egypt: only a lunar and a civil are required.
Seventeen days after New Year's day, there was also the more somber feast of Wagy, which eventually became associated with the festival of Thoth on the nineteenth day of the year. This event was connected with the mortuary rituals of ancient Egypt and was celebrated by private individuals outside of official religious circles as well as within the precincts of the major temples in Egypt. Our first evidence of this celebration is from the 4th Dynasty, making it one of the oldest in ancient Egypt. The original date of the festival was set according to the lunar basis and this was never discarded. Hence, during the historical period, there were actually two separate Wagy feasts, one set according to the cycle of the moon and a later one firmly placed at day eighteen of the first civil month
Osiris also had the distinction of being the resident god of wine, and during the Wag-festival his name was expanded to “Lord of Wine in the Flood.” The festival celebrated Osiris’ death and rebirth, and coincided with the annual flooding of the mighty Nile. It also coincided with the reappearance in the nighttime sky of the star Sothis (Sirius) and heralded the arrival of the Egyptian new year. The circle of life — birth, death, rebirth — unbroken.
Long before western man had figured out a calendar, the Egyptians understood exactly how to bring in the new year. The Wag-festival can best be described as a three-day orgy of drunkenness and revelry. Clay amphorae (wine jars) were decanted by the thousands in and around the Temple of Osiris at Abydos and the party kicked off shortly before sunrise, when Sothis appeared in the heavens. It continued day and night with singing, dancing, poetry, and games, all set to the thunderous music of the flooding Nile.
Then, right at the height of the mayhem, it ended. Bang. Douse the torches and go on home.
Osiris was called "Lord of Drunkeness at the Wag-festival", which took place during the season of the grape harvest, shortly before the inundation. (Sigfrid Hoedel-Hoenes, Life and Death in Ancient Egypt, pg. 114) And wine was frequently offered to him, for instance, in the stela of Thutmose the doorkeeper, from the 18th Dynasty, we find that "water, a cool breeze and wine" are to be given to "the spirit of the inundation" and Horemheb offers Osiris wine in order to be granted the "gift of life, each day, like Ra". Vines could be depicted in funerary monuments associated with Osiris, the most famous example belonging to the 18th Dynasty Mayor of Thebes Sennefer, whose tomb was known for its stunningly beautiful depiction of a grape arbor as the "tombeau des vignes". The ceiling of his tomb is covered in vines and grapes painted with utmost care, reaching down into the shrine of Osiris within the burial chamber, as if originating from the realm of the God of life and vegetation.
"When you go forth to the sky, the sky shall give you birth like (sAH).........[Ho, Pepi Neferkare! Now I have bewailed you], now I have mourned you. I will not forget you. My heart will not tire of invoking you every day, with an endowed offering on every festival - on the first of the month, on the middle of the month, on the placing of the brazier, on the Thoth festival, on the Supply festival (wAg-festival), [on the meat-carving festival, on your yearly festivals]. You will be given birth at the first of your months and live as a god."
Awake. Turn youself about. So shout I. Unas, stand up and sit down to a thousand of bread, a thousand of beer, roast meat of your rib-joints from the slaughter house, and ith-bread from the Broad Hall. The god is provided with a god's offering, the King is provided with this bread of his. Come to your ba, Osiris, ba among the akhs, mighty in your places whom the Ennead protect in the Mansion of the Prince.Unas, raise yourself up to me, betake yourself to me, do not be far from me, for the tomb is your barrier against me. I give you the Eye of Horus
The Egyptians have a legend that the end of Osiris's life came on the seventeenth of the month, on which day it is quite evident to the eye that the period of the full moon is over Because of this the Pythagoreans call this day "the Barrier," and utterly abominate this number. For the number seventeen, coming in between the square sixteen and the oblong rectangle eighteen, which, as it happens, are the only plane figures that have their perimeters equal their areas, bars them off from each other and disjoins them, and breaks up the ratio of eight to eight and an eighth by its division into unequal intervals
The festival of Wagy was the day of the dead. The first traces of this cult date from the 4th Dynasty, which is also the dynasty of the Great Pyramid and its neighbours on the Gizeh plateau. On that day, the families came to the tombs of the deceased, with offerings, performing rituals, specifically “fumigations” – producing fumes – smoke.
We thus find ourselves reading about a death mass, where the souls are commemorated by their families – with the light of the torch perhaps reminding us of the light of the souls