July 13th, 2008Back when the Ancient Egyptians invented the calender, they divided it into 12 months of 30 days each. They then grouped those months into three seasons in accordance to the state of the Nile, be it flooding, receding, or receded. I'll bet you've done the math and seen that this is 360 days and won't gel. It didn't. After enough time letters would be written that said, "it was the third day of Inundation when the land was dry". Eventually they realized they needed to fix things. Enter the "extra week"--five days really, starting tomorrow. The story was told that Ra was the king of the gods. It was prophesied that Nut would give birth to the god that would replace him, so he cursed her that she not give birth on any day of the year. This made her very sad. So Thoth, god of wisdom, god who brought writing to the Egyptians, played a game of Senet with Khons, god of the moon. The prize was a portion of Khons's light. As an added bonus, this explains why the moon cannot shine full all the time but must wax and wane. Thoth used that light to create five extra days, outside of the normal year. Nut was able to bear children on those days. As I said, the extra time starts tomorrow, but I wanted to start this contest today, because today is Ra's birthday. Ra is the hawk-headed deity who drives the sun barge across the sky on its daily voyage. I love that the Egyptians actually pinpointed the location of the entrance to the underworld, where Ra traveled by night to rise again the next morning. It's in the Bakhu mountain range in modern-day Iraq. So here is the contest. Leave a comment on the blog, either today's entry or one of the subsequent ones talking about each of the gods, for a chance to win hand dyed sock yarn in my Ancient Egyptian colorways. It's 30% silk/70% merino. 440 yards. 100 grams. Enough for an average pair of woman's socks. The contest will end when we return to normal time on July 20, which, coincidentally, is the birthday of Alexander the Great. A winner will be selected at random. Watch this space on July 15, Set's birthday, for a free beaded sock pattern. As an aside I find it amusing that the Roman calendar started with 10 months then added two extras: July (for Julius) and August (for Augustus). This is why the prefaces of the later months don't match their actual numbers. Sept = 7. Oct = 8. Nov (think Novena) is 9. Dec = 10.