The Drunken Festival, when Egypt drank wine like there was no tomorrow
The earliest archaeological remains or samples with evidence of wine and beer brewing appeared in the so-called Fertile Crescent (Mediterranean coastal strip running from the Nile River basin to the Tiber and Euphrates basins). In both Sumer and Egypt, beer was the most widely consumed beverage and accessible to all social classes, with wine remaining for certain rituals and ceremonies and for the consumption of the wealthiest. And that was the case all year round... except in the Festival of the Drunken or Drunkennesswhere more wine was consumed than in the whole of Egypt during the rest of the year.
Between the state festivals - if I may call Ancient Egypt a state - and the local festivals of each town, the Egyptians really had their fill of celebrations. One of the most popular, albeit local, was the Festival of the Drunken, which took place in the city of Bubastis - near present-day Zaqaziq, in the eastern part of the Nile delta - during the Ajet (the season of the Nile flood at the beginning of the year). Like all celebrations in Ancient Egypt, there was some divinity involved, in this case Bastet, the chief goddess of the city.
Represented under the The goddess was said to be shaped like a cat or like a woman with a cat's head.she was the maternal goddess, guardian of the home and defender of her children, the goddess of abundance and of pleasure, music and dance. Logically, she was also the protector of cats. And although, as a good mother, she was very understanding and patient, even she had her limits. The problem is that she went beyond threatening to hit us with her slipper on the arse, because when she got angry - I gave her away that she was changing her tender kitten's head for that of a lioness - she could go berserk and leave no one with a head. So, to keep her happy and since she was the mistress of pleasure, they sang as long as she could stand it, for 24 days the inhabitants of Bubastis and the thousands of foreigners who came to the feast drank wine as if there was no tomorrow.they sang as long as they could hold their voices and danced until they were exhausted. The teetotalers were supposed to leave the city in those days, as not getting drunk was almost an offence to the goddess.
Other sources indicate that sex, camouflaged under euphemisms such as "travelling through the marshes", was also part of the rituals of this festival. This does not seem far-fetched if, in addition to the flowing wine, we consider that the festival was celebrated when the Nile was flooding the farmlands. Therefore, sexual intercourse during the festival could be interpreted as a ritual to ensure the fertility of the land.
We know that Herodotus was a bit of an exaggerator, but, according to what he was told when he travelled to Egypt, during the festival of 440 BC, there were between 400,000 and 500,000 people at the Woodstock festival (New York, USA) in 1969. The city of Bubastis hosted 700,000 people!!!! To give you an idea, there were between 400,000 and 500,000 people at the Woodstock festival (New York, USA) in 1969, and it was believed to be the biggest festival in history. But all those foreigners who travelled to the city in their horse-drawn carriages had better be aware of the "If you drink, don't drive" advertising campaign starring singer Stevie Wonder in the 1980s, because if they didn't... the consequences were dire.
An Egyptian papyrus dating back some 2,800 years records the trial and first punishment of a driver arrested for driving his car under the influence of alcohol. After being accused of crashing into a statue and running over a girl, the judge decided to sentence him to be hanged at the door of the tavern where he had been drunk while waiting for scavengers to make his body disappear. Let's see who is the handsome one who complains about today's penalties.