The Kemetic Round Table (KRT) is a blogging project aimed at providing practical, useful information for modern Kemetic religious practitioners. For all the entries relating to this particular topic, take a peek here.The world of Kemeticism is filled with holidays. There are numerous calendars to choose from when it comes to holidays. We all joke about it, but legitimately, just about every day of the year is some form of feast, festival, procession, or major celebration. In some cases, we have a multitude of various celebrations to choose from on any given day. In other case, there are holidays that span quite a few days at a time (I think there is even one that spans an entire thirty days, if I’m recalling my calendar information correctly), which accounts for much of the “multiple celebrations to choose from” thing. While spoons are a serious consideration when deciding how many, and how frequently, one spends in regards to their holy days, there are so many to choose from that you could celebrate whichever ones you want and may not find a single other Kemetic who celebrates the same one! Both an exciting and frightening prospect, in and of itself.
While holidays aren’t the be-all, end-all to anyone’s religious practice, incorporating them into what we do, I believe, is rather important. It is with daily devotions, of course, that we build our relationships. But just as with interpersonal and mundane relationships, things begin to grow. And with those things growing, we must begin to look outside of our “usual bag of tricks” in an effort to move forward with those relationships. While the metaphor I just used may be a little sloppy, it’s accurate for the relationships we are building with our gods, as well. Giving offerings and praying to our gods is an excellent way to begin our connections and continuing in those devotions with a larger focus, such as a holiday, is an excellent next step one will inevitably take.
I think that while, also, facilitating a deeper association between gods and their devotees, holidays are also a very good way of letting off some steam. While I do advocate piety in one’s practice, I also believe that we need to keep the fun in all of this, as well. We can’t just sit around and have deep philosophical conversations all the time or discuss historical tidbits to death. Sometimes, we need to let loose and in order to do that, we need to let down our hair, so to speak. As a prime example, one of my last celebrations – prior to this year’s Intercalary Days and Wep-Ronpet – was a procession of Sekhmet. I tend to refer to this as Sekhmet’s version of the Roaming Gnome because, quite frankly, that is exactly what it was. I took my deity’s statue around the house, snapped a picture, and called it a night. While there are a lot of things that one may want to put into a festival or feast, from supplies to intention, we can’t forget about just exactly how much fun we can all have while celebrating them.
There are numerous ways to go about figuring out when those celebrations are.
Some people choose certain days of the week as kind of impromptu celebrations for their deity of choice. For example, people may take the planetary associations with days of the week and incorporate them into festivals of some sort for their gods: Sunday would be days to celebrate for the solar deities (so about 99% of the Kemetic pantheon). Or, you may choose a day of the week that “speaks” to you on some level for the deity that you are looking to celebrate for. And again, you could just put the seven days of the week up on a dart board, throw a dart, and see where it lands. With the humorous and slightly sarcastic invention of “Bitter Tits Tuesday” in honor of Djehuty, I think it had more to do with the T in the word “tits” than anything else. (Devo and Desh are the two to ask about that. I just pay attention to it). But really, that stems from personal preference. If you want to choose a particular day of the week and use it as an all-encompassing way to celebrate your gods in various reasons, then do so.
Another way to go about figuring out when celebrations will be is by overlaying the Kemetic calendar (which one?) to the Julian calendar that we use now. So, in instances like that, people would choose Wep Ronpet to coincide with New Year’s Day and the Intercalary Days being the five days immediately preceding New Year’s Day. If you can associate the months that are of Kemetic design with the months that we currently have in use, then it makes things a little easier. However, in so doing this, one must take into consideration that there will be celebrations for holidays that are not in line with your local area’s weather patterns. Actually, this may be the case no matter how you end up creating your calendar, but it’s something you should keep in mind. I did attempt this, myself, and found it lacking. Part of the reason I had so many troubles with it was because my calendar was so far removed from other Kemetics’ calendars that it seemed like I was running solo even though the Kemetic community has quite a few players within. However, it’s something to keep in mind when debating on how best to begin your own holiday calendar.
Some other ways to begin the whole “when” question is to find out when the star Sirius (Sopdet) rises above the horizon for the first time in your area. Of course, you may want to base your calendar off of a specific city, either where you live or in ancient Egypt, so you will need the proper coordinates in order to do this. I won’t get into the nitty gritty of specifically how and where you go about this information. I will, however, provide a link to the entry that helped me with this. Suffice to say, this is probably the most labor intensive (and I don’t recommend doing it without being fully caffeinated) but also one of the most liberating and exciting ways to discover your calendar. From there, it’s only a matter of time of counting down the days to start interspersing the celebrations you want to celebrate – such as Wep-Ronpet, the Wag Festival, the Opet Festival, et cetera – into your own calendar system.
Celebrating holidays, and the how, is something that is highly dependent on the aim of the celebration. I wrote about this not all that long ago and I think the items that I listed in that entry are just as valid today. I can tell you, however, that when it comes to celebrating your holidays, you may want to make a list of the things you want to incorporate into this holiday. The questions I’ve highlighted in the post I just linked to are important aspects to ask yourself when you begin to celebrate and how best to plan out your celebration. Now, I’m a huge fan of pulling things out of your butt at the last minute. Without planning and foresight, then you are better able to have fun, in my opinion. Obviously, that’s not always the case, but it also makes it less likely for you to feel like you’ve failed or fucked up if you don’t have a game plan in place. However, if you’re just starting out, I highly recommend that you move forward with planning things.
I also highly recommend that you start off with minor celebrations. Some of the bigger things, like the Opet Festival or the Wag Festival, may leave you with star struck eyes at the possibility of celebrating them. However, moving into this whole holy day thing with some of the largest Kemetic celebrations out there isn’t necessarily recommended. If you choose something minor, such as a feast day, to begin with, then you can at least begin to get a feel relating to what it is that you are about and what it is you are hoping to achieve with all of this. Just as you don’t start swimming by diving off of the high board, you need to take small steps to build yourself up to a comfort level with your Kemetic holidays.There is no tried and true “you must do this” when it comes to what types of things you decide to add into your calendar. I think many people are frightened away from adding their own interpretations of celebrations to their religious calendars because “woo” in the Kemetic hemisphere is predominantly looked down upon. We’re so focused on how recon we are that we forget that this isn’t about us so much as what we can provide for them. And if you go right out and create your own religious celebration, then you are obviously snorting down the “woo.” The thing is, however, that recon is all fine and dandy until you realize that you could very well be preventing your relationship with the god in question from moving forward by allowing what other people think to hold you back. Case in point: a group of us Kemetics began seriously celebrating “Bitter Tits Tuesday” in honor of Djehuty. Not a single aspect of it has to do with anything except all of us having fun and a great laugh. I actually made a little bitter tits face that I tape on to the breast of my icon each Tuesday. Does this reek of being kind of an asshole? Maybe. Is it fun? Shit, yeah. Do I care what other people may think? Not really because I’m having some damn fun while I’m doing it.
My best advice on the whole subject of holiday is to have a lot of fun and to do whatever makes you most comfortable. This isn’t really about what we can do or what we can’t do. This religious path is here because we decided it sounded like a grand old time. In same vein, we need to take that attitude and incorporate it into the holidays we are looking forward to adding to our religious practices.