Festival of Osiris

What intrigued me the most, this week, are the religious practices surrounding Abydos. The mythology story is very fascinating – the entry to the underworld, the home of Osiris, the weighing of the heart – all fascinating things. I decided to look more into it. In my findings, I learned that there is an annual festival procession in the name of Osiris, beginning at the god’s temple, ending at the royal tombs of Umm el-Qa’ab. It has been said that the ‘god’ temple is actually the tomb of one of the first pharaoh’s, Djer, whom we talked about in class. This procession is actually depicted in many funeral art.

Not only is this ceremony/pilgrimage depicted in funerary art, but it is reflected in the surrounding area. Along the outlying areas of the ancient city that held the temple of Osiris, there is evidence of mud-bricked chapels. These chapels were built for individuals who were not able to physically take part in the ritual, but could be parts of it from a distance – watching the procession pass through as they made their way to the royal tombs. The purpose of the chapels gives insight into the society at the time because it seems that those who watched from the chapels were of lower statuses than those actually allowed to view the procession up close. Apparently, what happened during these rituals was that priests carried the statue of Osiris to the final destination at Umm el-Qa’ab, and consisted of two parts. The first part was public, which I assume was what these chapel people witness, and the second was a private and secret section, taking place in the desert, performing the divine rites. Religiously, people took part in this festival to pray to be a part of it in the afterlife. In religious texts, most people desire to witness the event in order to benefit from it somehow spiritually.


1 thought on “Festival of Osiris

  1. As soon as I saw this blog post was about the festival of the god Osiris, I know it would be something that I had to look deeper into. Osiris is an Egyptian god, known as the god of the afterlife, the underworld, and the dead. Many of the illusions of the go Osiris appear in the fifth dynasty pyramid texts, though it is easy to assume that he probably would have been worshipped earlier than that. It is assumed that the god Osiris taught the Egyptian people about farming, and was also considered the god of vegetation. As we know from previous class periods, the Egyptians were the first to create agriculture in a way that we can still use it today. He was also considered responsible for the annual flooding of the Nile River Valley, allowing for the rich, fertile soil to produce flourishing agriculture. So it is obvious that the Egyptians would have a festival celebrating this god. He is what allows you into the afterlife and is responsible for the creation of agriculture. This is one thing that changed the lifestyle of these people from nomadic to the booming and mysterious civilization that we are still fascinated with today.

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