By: Ali Abu Dashish and Maydaa Abo-ElNadar
CAIRO, Dec. 28 (SEE)- Ancient Egyptians used the astral year to measure time. They annually celebrated New Year on 11 September, in normal year, or 12 September, in case year is leap. Coptic months carried the names of the ancient Egyptians’ gods.
Since the remotest times, ancient Egyptians used astronomical calendar. They invented the concept of “year”, a fact that proves that they studied the sun’s virtual movement amongst the stable stars. They celebrated New Year on the first of Thout (a Coptic month), a date that marked the year’s beginning.
The New Year was marked by the appearance of Sirius (a binary star) whose appearance also was a sign for the flood’s arrival. The invention of this calendar came to serve the flood system and the agricultural circumstances, bearing in mind that the ancient Egyptian civilization depended on agriculture because of the flood.
Thanks to the flood, the land was fertile. Ancient Egyptian named the land “Kimt” that meant the land that includes everything: sun, moon, life, and the other world. Ancient Egyptians noticed that the flood is phenomenon repeated annually, and that Sirius appears simultaneously with the sunrise on the same day of the flood’s arrival to Memphis (Egypt’s capital at that time). According to ancient Egyptian religion and legends, Ancient Egyptians considered the flood as goddess Isis’s tears, crying for her husband Osiris.
Based on the above mentioned concepts, they organized the agricultural processes and they managed to invent the “year” that consists of 365 days and is divided to 12 months. A month was subdivided to three weeks, each week included ten days. Then, a day was subdivided to hours.
Astral year, for ancient Egyptians, was a principal unit to measure time and make calendar. They were the ones who invented the calendar, known then to the world. Their invention was discovered on the temples’ walls.
Till nowadays, Coptic months carry ancient Egyptian gods’ names:
1) Thout: It means in hieroglyphics “Thob” the god of education. Celebrations were made honoring this god in all areas for a week. Coptic people still celebrate the Coptic year’s beginning under the name of Nayrouz.
2) Paopi: In hieroglyphics “Bi Thb Wt” the god of agriculture, as during this month the land was being covered by agricultural crops.
3) Hathor: Is a goddess that personified beauty. The month carried this name, as the land used to be decorated with crops.
4) Koiak, meaning in hieroglyphics “Ka Ha Ka” the god of goodness or the sacred bull.
5) Tobi: it refers to “Tobia” that means in hieroglyphics the supreme, referring to the god of rain.
6) Meshir: The word refers to a festival related to the god “Makhir” in charge of storms. The month carried this name because during it storms and continuous changes were occurring.
7) Paremhat: In ancient Egyptian language it is “Pamont” and it means heat. During this month crops were growing thanks to heat.
8) Parmouti: In ancient Egyptian language it was “Parahamot” the god of death. Throughout the month, after harvesting, plantations were disappearing.
9) Pashons: It means (Ba Khenso) the god of darkness.
10) Paoni: It refers to “Pa Awni” the god of metals. It was the month when stones and metals were equal.
11) Ebib: Meaning “Hoba” the sky’s happiness. Ancient Egyptians used to enjoy happiness during this month as the god of sun “Hoodie” revenged for his father Osiris.
12) Mesori: In hieroglyphics it means “Maso Ra” and it refers to Ra’s birth. Ra was the sun’s son.
The remaining five days in the year were called the “Little Month”. Throughout these days, festivals for gods: Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephthys, and Horus, were celebrated.