Calendar: 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)

1st wp rnpt- New Year (lit. opening of the year)

2nd HAt rnpt- “front of the year”

3rd ihhy -“jubilation”

10th procession of Isis (Late Period)

15th Hapi and Amun

17-18th Wagy or Wag

19th Wag and Thoth festival

20th Tekh (drunkenness)

22nd Great Procession of Osiris

30th Osiris and Ennead

Month 2; Menhet (Phaophi, Baba)

4th hnp Sa – “pouring the sand”

5th mnht ha-hpr-ra – “cloth of Khakheperra (Senusret II)'” and festival of Osiris and Ennead

15th or 19th Ipet (Opet) Festival (11 to 27 day festival of Amun

18th festival of Khnum and Anuket in Elephantine

27th day festival of Montu in Thebes

28th festival of Satet and Anuket in Elephantine

Month 3; Hwt-Hru (Hathor)

6th ht hAwy m Ssp itrw “evening offering in taking the river” and feast of Isis (Late Period)

7th Ssp itrw “taking the river”

8th Abd “month”

9th festival of Amun

15th Fertility festival of Min

17th the lamentations of Isis and Nephthys (New Kingdom)

21st Feast day of Maat

30th festival of Anuket in Elephantine

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

1st hnt Hwt-Hr – sailing of Hathor

11th Hb skr –Sokar

18th start of the Khoiak festival (Osiris)

22nd Khoiak; Ploughing the Earth

26th Khoiak; festival ofSokar

30th Khoiak; raising the Djed pillar


  • Bard, Kathryn (2008) An introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
  • Kemp, Barry J (1991) Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation
  • Redford Donald B (2002) Ancient Gods Speak
  • Trigger, B.G, Kemp, B.J, O’Connor. D, Lloyd. A.B (1983) Ancient Egypt, A Social History/li>
  • Van De Mieroop, Marc (1999) A History of Ancient Egypt
  • Wilkinson, Richard H. (2003) The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt
  • Wilkinson, Richard H. (2000) The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt
  • Wilson, Hilary (1997) People of the Pharaohs

Copyright J Hill 2010