Papyrus with a calendar of lucky and unlucky days
From Saqqara, Egypt
Late 19th Dynasty, around 1225 BC
Even ancient Egyptians had good days and bad days
It was important to many people whether a day
is lucky or not. Today we might check our horoscopes in the
newspaper, while in ancient Egypt it seems that they consulted
calendars that kept track of the goodness or badness of particular
days. The oldest surviving Egyptian calendar of lucky and unlucky
days dates to the Middle Kingdom (2040-1750 BC). This
The entry for
each day is prefaced by three
An example of a
bad day: 'Do not go out on this day. Do not turn your back
to do any work at sunset. Whoever is born on this day will die
through a serpent'.
An example of a good day: 'This is the day on which the gods received their hearts. The world keeps the festival'.
For some days the text is quite obscure, and others may not appear to the modern reader as good or bad as they did to the Egyptians.
R.B. Parkinson and S. Quirke, Papyrus, (Egyptian Bookshelf) (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)
C. Leitz, Magical and medical papyri of (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)