Heb-Sed Festival in Ancient Egypt Civilization | Jubilee Festival Pharaonic of Divine Kingship.

Heb-Sed Festival | Jubilee Festival | Festival of Divine Kingship

When do the kings celebrate the Heb-Sed Festival?

The heb-Sed festival was celebrated in the fourth month of the inundation season.

Why do the Kings celebrate the Heb-Sed Festival?

Since the beginning of ancient Egyptian History, the king was the god on earth or the representative of the god on earth. His primary mission is to keep the MAAT, the cosmic order.

 Where do Kings celebrate the Heb Sed festival?

Maybe they celebrated the feast in the Capital city and some of them built whole festival temples for that but others just renewed existed ones.

Who was the first king to celebrate the Jubilee Festival?

If it is true as some historians believe Narmer from the 1st Dynasty was the first to celebrate that feast as they guess that from his ritual mace head. If not, so maybe the feast dates back to the time of king Den, also 1st Dynasty according to an ebony label found in Abydos shows the king carrying the Heb Sed signs.

How often do kings celebrate the Heb Sed?

Traditionally, Kings were supposed to celebrate the Heb Sed every 30 years but as long as they were not sure they will be alive, they celebrated that feast every 3 years later.

Therefore, that was not rule meant a king like Amenhotep III 18th Dynasty, The New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt celebrated the Heb Sed 3 times in 37 years. Meanwhile, Ramses II, Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt, New Kingdom celebrated the feast 13 times in 67 years of his reign.

Queen Hatshepsut, 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom celebrated her first Heb Sed during her 16th regnal year. While Amenhotep III (Akhenaton’s father) celebrates the feast in his 40 years of reign. Amenhotep IV (Akhenaton) dedicated his festival to the solar-god Aton on his 3rd regnal year. Akhenaton rules for 17years and he may repeat that celebration during these 17 years.

 Where can we see the most remarkable sign of that feast?

Without a doubt, remarkable signs and buildings of the feast were found in Saqqara in the Djoser complex from the 3rd Dynasty and also in the tomb of Pepi I 6th Dynasty at Saqqara. Also, At the Bent Pyramid at Dahshour for King Snefru from the 4th Dynasty. Finally, Heb Sed temple of Amenhotep II,18th Dynasty, New Kingdom as well as the “Festival Temple of Thutmose III, New Kingdom.

How do we know about that celebration?

The best-preserved scenes for that feast were found in the sun temple of King Niusera, 5th Dynasty in Abu-Ghorab, 6 miles southwest of Cairo, near Abusir.

The Heb-Sed Festival according to Djoser Complex at Saqqara

From the beginning of the second Dynasty, there was a special festival called Heb Sed. This celebration was done by the king and it was every 30 years to remain on the throne of Egypt another 30 years. But the King was not sure he would live 30 more years, so they celebrated that feast every 4 or 5 years. The Kings are meant to celebrate that feast every 4 or 5 years to show the locals that fiscally he is ok and he is able to rule 5 more years or 30 more years.

Heb-Sed Festival Guest

1st invitation

In the Heb Sed feast, the king had to invite certain gods as long as we know 25 gods from the 42 nomes or governorates.

The King had to build certain shrines to house these gods, one shrine each

The priests were taking care of these god statues, changing their uniforms, perfuming them

2nd invitation

The king should invite the grandees from all of Egypt, 10 from upper Egypt and 10 from lower Egypt. Meanwhile, they should also be housed separately, each group in one house.

The grandees from Upper Egypt will stay in one house and the grandees of Lower Egypt will stay in one.

Between then set of shrines, platforms, and courts.

Beginning of Heb-Sed Fest

After housing everybody, a certain drama would start with a procession started with

The Procession

Gods on their standards

Delegations of the grandees

The King’s court

The King himself carried on a palanquin

King’s fan bearers

The king would walk to each shrine to offer the gods his offerings to each one in his shrine.

When the king offers a god from Upper Egypt, he should put the Upper Egypt crown. Meanwhile, the same with the gods of lower Egypt, he should wear the crown of Lower Egypt.

Whenever he finished offering his offerings to all the gods of Upper and Lower Egypt, he would come out, stand in front of the participants and announce that the gods agree that he will rule for another 30 years. Then, he will be crowned once by the crown of upper Egypt and once with the crown of lower Egypt.

Next, the delegations will announce their agreement

One more time, the king will run against the 4 corners representing the four directions East, West, North, and South holding the well of his father god and repeat

“I have run holding the secrets of the two partners, the well which my father (Atum) gave me and he touches all the corners as a son of the god on earth.

 Another version of the celebration from the temple of King Niusera at Abu Ghorab

On the first day, the king presented offerings to the gods; then was seated and crowned on a raised platform. The platform still existed at least in Saqqara provided with two thrones that represented Upper and Lower Egypt.

Images of provincial deities in a series of shrines were shown beside the double throne, specifically the cobra-goddess Wadjet of the Delta town of Buto, and the vulture goddess Nekhbet of el-Kab; symbols of Upper and Lower Egypt.

The priests carried the statues of the gods and presented offerings, as a sign of giving thanks for past loyalty or to secure good relationships in the future.

The king supposes to run against the 4 directions announcing he was crowned as the king of the four directions of the world.