The Ancient Egyptians used three different calendar systems simultaneously, and all are different from the one used today.
The White Goddess Paganism 101 An Introduction

Calendars - Lesson 4 - The White Goddess

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Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Calendars

Calendars

The Ancient Egyptians used three different calendar systems simultaneously, and all are different from the one used today.

The first calendar was based on the movements of the star Sothis (Sirius) and its annual appearance shrtly before sunrise between July 19th and the 21st. Sothis was dedicated to Isis and occasionally with Hathor. But the solar yearis longer than the Sothic year by 6 hours. As a result, every four years a full day must be added or a whole year for every 1460 years.

The Ancient Egytptians were not unaware of this flaw, as early as Dynasty III, Imhotep introduced the first calendar reforms. The Sothic calendar was introduced by the priests of On (Greek Heliopolis). This calendar had specific significance for this area, as between July 19th and the 21st the NIle reached its flood stage at Heliopolis and Memphis.

After c2937 BC, another calendar was also used. This was more of a civil calendar rather than a priestly one. It was based on the years of a given reign as well as on the regularity of the Nile floods.

Finally, a third calendar, closely connected with the second, but mainly employed to determine the dates of religious holidays and other solemn observances, was based on the phases of the moon. It consisted of 12 months each of 30 days, each month was divided into 3 decades (36 decade in a year), each being under the protection of a different god. To make up for the differences between the lunar calendar and the Sothic calendar, a 37th decade was added every two years.

To lesson the increasing difference between the lunar and Sothic calendars, 5 extra days were added each year, instead of adding 10 every 2 years. These five days were added at the end of the year and each was consecrated to a different God: the first to Osiris, second to Horus, third to Seth, fourth to Isis and fifth to Nephthys.

The Seasons

The Ancient Egyptians had a calendar system of 360 days, with three seasons, each made up of 4 months, with thirty days in each month. The seasons of the Egyptians corresponded with the cycles of the Nile, and were known as Inundation (pronounced akhet which lasted from June 21st to October 21st), Emergence (pronounced proyet which lasted from October 21st to February 21st), and Summer (pronounced shomu which lasted from February 21st to June 21st).

The beginning of the year, also called "the opening of the year", was marked by the emergence of the star Sirius, in the constellation of Canis Major. The constellation emerged roughly on June 21st., and was called "the going up of the goddess Sothis". 

Seasonal Names
1st of Akhet - Dhwy - Thoth
2nd of Akhet - Pa-n-ip.t - Phaophi
3rd of Akhet - Hwt-hwr - Aythyr
4th of Akhet - Ka-hr-ka - Choiak
1st of Proyet - Ta-'b - Tybi
2nd of Proyet - Mhyr - Mechir
3rd of Proyet - Pa-n-amn-htp.w - Phamenoth
4th of Proyet - Pa-n-rnn.t - Pharmouthi
1st of Shomu - Pa-n-hns.w - Pachon
2nd of Shomu - Pa-n-in.t - Payni
3rd of Shomu - Ipip - Epiphi
4th of Shomu - Msw-r' - Mesore

Snippets

AkhetAkhet

Inundation (pronounced akhet), first season which lasted from June 21st to October 21st.

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