Calendar: Akhet

hieroglyphs; Akhet

The first season of the ancient Egyptian calendar was Akhet (appearance). It ran from mid July to mid November. This was the season in which the inundation occurred, and so it was dedicated to Hapi. it was hoped that he would ensure that the flood was not too low (resulting in a poor harvest) or too high (resulting in the destruction of mud-brick houses and paths built near to the Nile).

The inundation was also associated with the star Sirius because the star re-appeared (after a seventy day absence) at the new year heralding the flood. The star was associated with Sopdet (Sothis), Satet (Satis) and Isis .

The inundation was a quiet time for farmers as the fields were largely submerged. To earn tax relief (tax was a proportion of the food they produced) they could take on other jobs for the state. For example, during the Old Kingdom farmers could help with the construction of monuments such as the pyramids in return for living expenses and a tax rebate.

Month 1; Tekh (Thoth, Thuti, Thout, Djwhty)

month; tekt, ThothDay Festival 1wp rnpt- New Year (lit. opening of the year) 2HAt rnpt- “front of the year” 3ihhy -“jubilation” 10procession of Isis (Late Period) 15Hapi and Amun 17-18Wagy or Wag 19Wag and Thoth. festival 20Tekh (drunkenness) 22Great Procession of Osiris. 30Osiris and Ennead

Month 2; Menhet (Phaophi, Baba)

month; Phaophi Day Festival 4hnp Sa – pouring the sand’ 5mnht ha-hpr-ra – “cloth of Khakheperra (Senusret II)'” and festival of Osiris and Ennead 15 or 19Ipet (Opet) Festival (11 to 27 day festival of Amun 18festival of Khnum and Anuket in Elephantine 272 day festival of Montu in Thebes 28festival of Satet and Anuket in Elephantine

Month 3; Hwt-Hru (hathor, Athyr)

month; AthyrDay Festival 6ht hAwy m Ssp itrw “evening offering in taking the river” and feast of Isis(Late Period) 7Ssp itrw ‘taking the river’ 8Abd ‘month’ 9festival of Amun 15Fertility festival of Min 17the lamentations of Isis and Nephthys (New Kingdom) 21Feast day of Ma ┬┤at 30festival of Anuket in Elephantine

Month 4; Ka-Hr-Ka (Nehebkau, Khoiak)

month; Khoiak Day Festival 1hnt Hwt-Hr – sailing of Hathor. 11Hb skr –Sokar 18start of the Khoiak festival (Osiris) 22Khoiak; Ploughing the Earth 26Khoiak; Sokar 30Khoiak; raising the Djed pillar


copyright J Hill 2010

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copyright J Hill 2010