Festivals of Ancient Egypt
Wep ronpet

"The Opening of the Year"

Wep ronpet was associated with the height of the Inundation when the Nile overflowed its banks and provided a rich layer of silt that would ensure a bountiful harvest later on. This Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) New Year took place in the fourth month of Shomu (early August on the Gregorian calendar), and was celebrated with festivities much the same as other cultures celebrate their New Year at different times around the world. Official rites, feasting, and the exchange of gifts and amulets of protection were part of the wep ronpet celebrations.

The Kemetic week was 10 days, and a year was 360 days. Five "Days Upon the Year" (also called the Epogamenal Days by the Greeks) were added preceding wep ronpet as the birthdays of the Children of Nut: Wesir (Osiris), Heru-wer (Horus), Set, Aset (Isis) and Nebt-het (Nepthys). In fact, our current calendar system which also measures 365 days to a year is based on the ancient Egyptian calculations. The Days Upon the Year came from the story that Ra was angry that His wife Nut (the Sky) was pregnant by Geb (the Earth) and so forbade Her to give birth on any day of the week. Nut entreated the clever Djehuty (Thoth) to help Her in Her dilemma, and so He created these "extra days" so that She could give birth to Her children without violating the decree of Her husband.

Although wep ronpet itself was a joyous celebration, the preceding Days Upon the Year were considered to be a time of great danger and evil potential. The Cairo calendar still warns of them, and advises not to begin any new projects or work with grain at this time. Protective spells and amulets were made and exchanged as part of the precautions against the uncertainties of the Epogamenal Days, and well as to ensure good luck and prosperity in the coming New Year.

Wep ronpet is celebrated today by members of the House of Netjer at an annual Retreat for the Faithful currently online, and in separate celebrations and gatherings throughout the country and world.

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