The Egyptian Book of Days provides an insight into both the religious and everyday aspects of ancient Egyptian life. It also introduces the seeker to genuine religious texts (in the form of prayers or invocations, including prayer times), and offers a general overview of Egyptian belief that makes it possible to see a living, breathing people – not just exhibits in a museum.
For the ancient Egyptians every day was considered to have some magical significance, which caused it to be good, bad, or partly good and partly bad and this calendar was compiled for purposes of religious observance. By consulting the lists of lucky and unlucky days, each individual could protect himself and his family against the danger of the day.
This new 200-page edition of the Calendar has been extended to include mini-biographies of the deities whose feast-days are being celebrated on each particular day, details of ritual offerings, holy places and sacred sites – not to mention the gossip and harem scandals that were recorded on ostraca – fragments of pottery shards – that were scattered the length and breadth of Egypt.
The Egyptian Books of Days has been compiled from the Greek and Demotic Magical Papyri lodged in the British Museum; the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris; the Staatliche Museum in Berlin; the Rijksmuseum in Leiden; and the Sallier Papyrus IV (No.10184); The Cairo Calendar (No.86637) currently lodged in the British and Cairo Museums and the Temple Festival Calendars of Ancient Egypt by Sherif el-Sabban.