Tourists, Egyptian and foreign residents of Luxor as well as a number of Egyptologists and media representatives attended earlier this week in Luxor the Opet Festival celebration. The festival which goes back to ancient Egypt was attended by the Minister of Tourism, Hisham Zaazou, Minister of Antinquities, Mamdouh al-Damati and the Luxor Governor, Muhammad Badr. The Opet Festival was celebrated annually by the 18th Dynasty (1550 – 1292BC) and later dynasties, in the second month of the season Akhet—the season of the inundation and the flooding of the Nile—to honour the gods of the Theban Triad, Amun-Ra, Mut and Khonsu. The purpose of this festival was to give energy to the Netjer—divine power—and to reestablish the pharaohs divine right to rule. Queen Hatshepsut who ruled Egypt as a Pharaoh during 1473–1458 BC) is believed to have been the first to develop and celebrate the Opet Festival. During her reign, the festival lasted for only 11 days. Amenhotep III, Tutankhamun, and Ramesses II also celebrated Opet.
Emulating the ancient Egyptian festival, during this year’s celebration the statues of the three gods Amun-Ra, Mut and Khonsu were carried aboard three wooden barques in a procession led by individuals impersonating the ancient king, queen, chief priest and chaperones, followed by flag bearers, senior staff, soldiers and musicians. The procession proceeded down the famous Avenue of the Rams/Sphinxes that connect the Temple of Karnak and the Temple of Luxor, and ended in the Colonnade Hall of the Temple of Luxor.
This year’s festival which was organised by the Ministry of Tourism and the Luxor governorate comes among the joint efforts between the two authorities to revive ancient celebrations in attempt to revitalise tourism in Luxor, Mr Badr explained.
Opet Festival has always been a grand celebration starting from Karnak and ending in Luxor, and attended by large crowds. In ancient times, the procession took different routes depending on the choice of the reigning pharaoh. Once in Luxor the statues of the Theban Triad would remain there between 24 and 27 days before being taken back to Karnak. In ancient celebrations, the procession of the gods marching from the Karnak to the Luxor Temples would stop at specific points en route, where offerings would be granted for the gods and the attending priests.
2 October 2015