The Egyptian Feast of the Dead - Calendar of Revelry and Sacred Days

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

The Egyptian Feast of the Dead
Calendar of Revelry and Sacred Days

This, one of the earliest known festivals commemorating dead souls, may be the most ancient root of Halloween. The festival was held annually corresponding to modern mid-November. It commemorates the day Osiris was killed by his brother Seth.

Osiris subsequently became the Lord of the Dead. The festival specifically honored him. During the festival, people mourned for Osiris. Oil lamps were lit outside homes and left burning through the night. The days surrounding the festival were considered times of danger and vulnerability but were simultaneously highly magically charged. Osiris’dead body was sometimes depicted with corn sprouting from it. While alive, Osiris was renowned as the one who taught people the secrets of agriculture. One may understand his myth as an early retelling of the story of the dying grain, which must be cut down so that people may eat, survive the winter and have new seeds to plant for the year to come. (See ERGOT.)

In Abydos, the sacred city devoted to Osiris, an eight-act drama portrayed the saga of Osiris’ life, death, and resurrection. According to Plutarch, the festival lasted for four days and was also a general commemorative feast for the dead.