Beautiful Festival of the Valley

The Beautiful Festival of the Valley was celebrated in and around Thebes. Ancient Egyptians dedicated it to the god Amon of Karnak and the dead, on which the most significant emphasis lay. This festival was memorialised in the seventh month of each year.

Main Participants of Beautiful Festival of the Valley

The festival consisted of a procession led by the Pharaoh, Amon, and several Theban deities, Mut, Konsu and Amaunet, from Karnak to the western-Nile bank.

These processions were a few moments when the king was seen in public. He showed that he was part of society by participating in the celebrations. This participation created a unique atmosphere. However, he distinguished himself by remaining out of reach of the public.

Pharaoh Role in the Beautiful Festival of the Valley

On the western bank of the Nile, the king and Amon visited the necropolis, the temples of deceased pharaohs, and other gods, being the sanctuary of Hathor and the chapel of Anubis. Higher and lower-ranking officials had the opportunity to participate directly in the procession, either by carrying the procession barque or by being on the king’s ship.

Dead Participation

Even the dead were able to participate in the festival utilising steles. These steles stood along the procession route in the necropolis. Also, the dead were able to receive offerings through these steles. They could even be seen by the god, who could look at their stele, see their depictions and read their names.

Public Participation

Also, the general public and minor priests were able to participate in the festival’s procession as a spectator. Furthermore, during the festival, families of the dead celebrated the festival in the funerary chapel of their ancestors, located in the Theban necropolis.

Offerings

The deceased was the focal point of the festival. While celebrating the festival in the chapels, family members gave offerings to the deceased, played music and sang songs, which musicians and dancers did. This ceremony made for a beautiful day in his/her (the deceased’s) house. Also, a banquet was held during the festival in the family tomb, as seen in textual sources from Deir el-Medina and chapels from the Theban necropolis.

During this banquet, the aim was to become intoxicated and thus partially fade out the border between the living and dead, which held religious importance.

All this is because the mortuary cult of ancestors played an important role in Egyptian culture. Thus it enabled the family to interact with the deceased directly and reconnect with their ancestors.