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Rhodophoria/Rosalia

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Aset shrine for Rhodophoria 2018.

Rhodophoria/Rosalia Festival

3 Peret/Pamenot/February
16 to 28-Rhodophoria

Roses themselves were introduced to Egypt via the Greeks and Romans. The Goddess Aphrodite (or Venus) was born from the sea-foam and during her birth; a white rose was formed from the waves. This is why it is associated with Aphrodite. When Aphrodite’s lover Adonis died, she cried and the white rose became red with his blood. And this is why red roses are associated with the Goddess.[1]

Aset’s worship became greatly linked to Aphrodite so much so that there was a syncretic deity Isis-Aphrodite within the Ptolemaic period. Aset as a mourning Goddess would also be associated with the red rose.

Rhodophoria “Bearer of Roses” or Rosalia festivals were ancient Greek and Roman festivals to honor the dead, the military dead and various deities. It was also a spring festival about fertility and flowers, especially roses so many Goddesses were honored during this time such as Aphrodite, Venus, Hethert (Hathor), Aset, Isis and Isis-Aphrodite.

Some scholars think that a garland of roses may have been religiously associated with the Crown of Victory given to Wesir after his victory over death in the afterlife. Even though this was initially given to Heru, it was transferred to Wesir. Other gods associated with this festival are Heru and Ra. Other ways this occasion was celebrated was victory triumphing over enemies or protecting from harmful forces. During the Ptolemaic Period and later, the festival became more affiliated with Wesir’s mythos.[2]

A long Rhodophoria festival (lasting 13 days) is listed on the Temple Festival Calendar of Soknopaiou Nesos which was dedicated to the crocodile God Sobek and Aset as both Aset Neferset/Isis Nepherses (with the Beautiful Throne) and Nephremmis (of the Beautiful Arms).[3]

This festival for Aset comes from the Ptolemaic period.  It is obviously Greek in origin, but was adapted to ancient Egyptian religion.

Roses were the flowers which were left on graves.  Aset is honored here as the Lady of Beauty, Fertility of the Land and Abundance, Queen of the Land of the Dead (Amenti), Queen of the Ancestors and the Mourner of Wesir.

Possible Dates to Celebrate:

  • 2 Peret/Mechir/January
    12 to 24- Rhodophoria
  • 3 Peret/Pamenot/February
    16 to 28-Rhodophoria
  • 1 Shomu/Pachons/April
    26- Rhodophoria
  • 2 Shomu/Payni/May
  • May 9- to 13
  • Rhodophoria/Rosalia
  • May 13
  • Rhodophoria/Rosalia
  • May 31 to June 1[4]


Activities for this Festival

  • Make offerings to Aset and some family members such as Sobek and Wesir
  • Offer red roses in a vase or rose petals in a bowl
  • Make or buy garlands of roses to put in your hair or drape around the shrine
  • Offer red roses and other offerings to the dead in a separate ancestor shrine or at a graveyard

Sources

[1] J. Gwyn Griffiths, Apuleius of Madaurus: The Isis-Book: (Metamorphoses, Book XI) (Brill, 1975), pp 39; 159–161.

Forrest, M. Isidora. Offering to Isis: Knowing the Goddess Through Her Sacred Symbols. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2005. (Rose entry: page 258-259)

[2] J. Gwyn Griffiths. Apuleius of Madaurus: The Isis-Book: (Metamorphoses, Book XI) (Brill, 1975), pp 159–161.

[3] Capron, Laurent. “Déclarations fiscales du Temple de Soknopaiou Nêsos: éléments nouveaux,” in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik. Bd. 165, Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, Bonn (Germany). (2008), pp. 142. 13 days.

Perpillou-Thomas, Francoise. Fêtes d’Egypte ptolémaïque et romaine, d’après la documentation papyrologique grecque. (Studia Hellenistica Series 31). (Peeters Publishers, 1993),127. From the Papyrus of Oxyrhynchos LII 3694. 12 day festival.

[4]Capron, Laurent. “Déclarations fiscales du Temple de Soknopaiou Nêsos: éléments nouveaux,” in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik. Bd. 165, Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, Bonn (Germany). (2008), pp. 142. 13 days.

Perpillou-Thomas, Francoise. Fêtes d’Egypte ptolémaïque et romaine, d’après la documentation papyrologique grecque. (Studia Hellenistica Series 31). (Peeters Publishers, 1993),127. From the Papyrus of Oxyrhynchos LII 3694. 12 day festival. Hekster, Olivier. Rome and its Empire, AD 193-284. (Edinburgh University Press, 2008), 128. From the Feridale Duranum Calendar from the reign of Severus Alexander.