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Ancient Egypt /
1. Introduction
2. Gods
3. Concepts
4. Cult
5. Cult centres
6. Necropolises
7. Structures

Detailed articleAncient Egypt

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Other spellings: Ipet, Apet

In Ancient Egyptian Religion, either the New Year festival or a goddess of Thebes.

The new year festival of Opet.
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The new year festival of Opet.

New Year festival
Annual festival in which the Theban triad, Amon, Mut and their son, Khonsu, made a ritual journey from their temples at Karnak to the Luxor Temple.
Statues of the 3 gods were placed in golden barks, and both carried by priests and sailed on the Nile in order to arrive in front of Luxor Temple. Inside the temple, the statues would remain for 24 days, during which period the entire city would celebrate. The return would be done with the same barks, and by the same route.
The festival had its name from the first part of the ancient name of Luxor Temple, Ipet-resyt.
One to purposes of the Opet festival was to allow the king to absorb the royal ka in the presence of Amon, rejuvenating his strength and qualities.
The cult is still celebrated, though as an integrated part of the Muslim faith and connected a the holy man Shaykh Yusuf al-Haggag, who has a mosque built in his honour into the left secion of the front of Luxor Temple. During his festival, a boat is carried around Luxor while being popularly celebrated.

The goddess, Opet.
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The goddess, Opet.

Opet is closely linked with Taweret, and specialized books diverge between considering Opet as a part of the divine concepts of Taweret, or as an independent goddess.
Representations of Opet appear almost identical to the ones of Taweret, and their powers are quite similar. Just like Taweret, Opet is shown as a standing hippopotamus, having pendulous breasts, with the tail of a crocodile and claws from a lion. She has a protruding belly, which may be seen both as a sign of pregnancy as well as a natural dimension of the body of the hippopotamus.
The powers of Opet were linked with fertility and childbirth. In the Pyramid Texts she is mentioned. The king asks to be nursed at her breasts so that he never will feel thirst or hunger.
Still, Opet holds a few qualities never found with Taweret. This applies especially to her importance to the city of Thebes, she may even have been the personification of Thebes.
The Theban Opet was associated with the goddess Mut.
Contrary to Taweret, Opet has a temple, which lies next to the temple of Khonsu at Karnak.

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By Tore Kjeilen