‘Girls Gone Wild’ in Ancient Egypt? (ca. 1470 BC)

By: The Scribe on Friday, March 30, 2007



In late 2006, archaeologists digging at the Mut Temple in Luxor discovered a column dating to the reign of Hatshepsut, upon which was carved an inscription describing an ancient Egyptian New Year’s festival called the “Festival of Drunkenness”.

Celebrated in honor of the goddess Sekhmet, the whole point of the festival was: get completely and totally smashing drunk, have a lot of sex, pass out… and then – hopefully – wake up the next morning to the sounds of blaring music. Some of the inscriptions make reference to “traveling through the marshes” which, according to site excavator Betsy Bryan, was an ancient Egyptian euphemism for having sex. This connection was also reinforced by ancient graffiti in the temple depicting men and women in various ‘positions’.

The inscription also included reference to several regulations for the festival, the most notable being a call for select individuals to make sure they remained sober – like ancient designated drivers, Bryan explained – to ensure everyone was participating safely and to prevent revelers from unintentionally causing harm.

After a night of drink, dance, and sex, musicians would walk around the festival grounds and play drums to wake up the participants. It was at this point – somewhat still inebriated and groggy – that the Egyptians believed they could communicate with the divine, and would ask the gods for their blessing and favor on the local community in the coming year.

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