Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.


The Epagomenoi: The Birth of Sutekh


The third epagomenal day marks the birth of Sutekh, the third child and youngest son of Nut and Geb. Even though Sutekh had some worship in earlier periods in Ancient Egypt, much of that was lost over time due to His later associations with chaos. Most of this post is introductory and will focus on the practices of Edfu and Dendera during the Ptolemaic period. Despite this I tried to include some trivia and a bit of an explanation of the significance of the holiday. It is in no way a complete coverage of the topic.

There seems to be, just like with the birth of Heru-Wr, some interchanging of names. In the Leyden I papyrus the name of the day is, “The pure gAs”. Spalinger notes there is no name for this day in later periods due to how Sutekh was perceived and His subsequent erasure. Conversely the Cairo Calendar called the day “powerful of heart”, which is also the name listed for the birth of Heru-Wr. Another manuscript refers to it as “the night of purifying sxm-pgs”. It is also noted in some manuscripts how the solar barque presented itself on this day. This would be consistent with boat themes found in other manuscripts concerning the names of the epagomenal days.

What is difficult to discern is how this day was observed. It’s a little difficult to determine how exactly this holiday was observed in the temples due to Sutekh’s poor reputation and erasure in later periods. The temple of Edfu notes on the Het-Hert calendar that burnt offerings were given with water libations at all hours of the evening, but that is to Het-Hert rather than Sutekh. This was followed by a evening procession to meet with Heru-Behedity.

Modern Kemeticists like to light a candle and say a prayer on this day. While the translation of the Cairo Calendar is questionable, it should provide some basis for anyone who’d like practice it:

O Seth, son of Nut, great of

strength…protection is at

the hands of they holiness. I am

they son. The name of this day

is Powerful of Heart.


Brier, Bob. Ancient Egyptian Magic. New York: Quill, 1981. Print.

El-Sabban, Sherif. Temple Festival Calendars of Ancient Egypt. Google books.

Spalinger, Anthony. “Some Remarks on the Epagomenal Days in Ancient Egypt”. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 54.1(1995): 33-47. JSTOR.