Osiris Bed
An example of an "Osiris Bed", aka corn mummy, the center piece of the Khoiak festival, a mold-shaped container, that was filled with mud and grain (typically barley; or millet or wheat), ranging in size from a few inches to body-sized, that beginning in the New Kingdom (1550BC) began to be put into the tombs of pharaohs. An Osiris Bed found in the tomb of Egyptian courtier Tuya (c.1390BC) (Ѻ) had 8-inch sprouts growing out of it. [4] These Osiris Beds were precursors to the Christmas tree.
In festivals, Khoiak festival, or “month of Khoiak (or Koiak)”, the forerunner to the modern month of Christmas, was the annual Egyptian holiday season month, Dec 10 to Jan 8, each day of which is themed around the Passion of Osiris, i.e. the myth of the death and resurrection of the god Osiris, the raising of the evergreen tree (or djed pillar), the forerunner to the modern Christmas tree, and the making of barley Osiris corn mummies.

In Egypt, annually, the 30-day period of Dec 10 to Jan 8, the fourth month of the Season of Akhet (Inundation), just as the waters receded to expose silt-covered fields fresh for sowing, was a festival month called the “month of Khoiak (or Koiak)”, the forerunner to the modern Christmas season, each day of which a special holiday event or ritual occurred. [1] The festival of Khoiak was a seed-planting festival of sorts; the gist of which is summarized as follows: [2]

“The festivals of Khoiak are among the best attested from ancient Egypt. They revolve around the myth of the god Osiris, murdered by his brother Seth, and revived by his sister-wife Isis to the point where she could conceive their son Horus. Osiris withdrew to rule the underworld, while Isis protected Horus until he was old enough to avenge his father in battle with Seth, and win the throne.”

In 1550BC, the Osiris rebirth myth became a month-long festival, which involved the making of pottery-like Osiris mold planting beds, examples of which are shown adjacent, that were planted each year; the gist of which is summarized as follows: [2]

“The death and revival of Osiris provide the mythic echo of the annual rebirth of crops. In the ceremony, seeds [barley, millet, wheat (Ѻ)] were sown in earth, which was from the New Kingdom [1550BC] shaped in [corn mummy] moulds to the form of Osiris; the sown earth was watered until the seeds germinated, and then this guarantor of a successful crop was buried. The timing of the festival in the official year placed it in the fourth month of flood, just as the waters receded to expose silt-covered fields fresh for sowing. The name of the festival was ka-her-ka 'ka upon ka' (or 'sustenance upon sustenance'); it survived into Christian times as the name of the fourth month of the season of flood, rendered in Coptic as Khoiak.”

The following is relate quote:

“The deceased wears an onion necklace to prepare for the solarization of the Sokar-Osiris. A luminous rebirth occurs on the morning of the 26-th day in the month of Khoiak in the hnw-barge, which is protected by the five geese, daughters of Ra, and their barges. The transport of the hnw was organized by the high priest of Ptah in Memphis.”
— Donald Redford (2001), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, Volume 3 (Ѻ)

The following shows the timeline “events”, based on known sources, that occurred each day of the month of the Koiak festival; in the Hathor temple (100AD) column, to note, we see Osiris being identified with Sokar (Sekar), the underworld god of Memphis, which, according to Budge (pg.130), occurred sometime after the Pyramid Texts, at an unknown time:

DayModernMedinet Habu
Koptos Basin
Jumilhac Papyrus
Hathor temple
Budge Summary

Dec 10[make new Osiris god mould case][make new Osiris god mould case][make new Osiris god mould case][make new Osiris god mould case]

Dec 11-20

Dec 21
watering the moulds
watering the Osiris/relic mouldsthe Festival of the Ploughing of the Earth and the Festival of the Tena were celebrated.
Dec 22
watering the moulds
watering the moulds

Dec 23
watering the moulds
watering the moulds; new Sokar [Osiris] figure madethe great Festival of Pert
Dec 24
watering the moulds
watering the moulds

Dec 25
watering the moulds
watering the moulds; anointing the Sokar figure, placed on bierthe Festival of Osiris Khent AmentiChristmas, aka Birth of Jesus, i.e. a new Jesus is born.
Dec 26
watering the moulds
watering the moulds

Dec 27
watering the moulds
watering the moulds

Dec 28
watering the mouldsfinding the head of Osiriswatering the moulds; censing the Sokar figure

Dec 29
watering the mouldsfinding the eyes of Osiriswatering the moulds; weaving the shroud

Dec 30opening window in Shetayt shrinewatering the mouldsfinding the jaws of OsirisOsiris and relic figures taken out of moulds; cloth woven

Dec 31hoeing the earthwatering the mouldsfinding the neck/arm of Osirissearch on the Sacred Lake

Jan 1making way in Shetayt shrinewatering the mouldsfinding the innards of Osirisburial preparations

Jan 2placing Sokar in their midstprocession of figuresfinding the intestines of Osirisremoval of figures of last yearthe model of the god of the preceding year was taken out from its place and buried suitably, and the new Osiris [corn mummy] was embalmed in the sanctuary
Jan 3Netjeryt (tying onion strings in evening)final rites on roof (or 26?)finding the lungs/phallus of Osiris
The new Osiris remained without burial for seven days because of the tradition which declared that the god had remained for seven days in the womb of his mother Nut when she was with child.
Jan 4Sokar festival - circling the wallsinal rites on roof (or 25?)finding the thighs/legs of Osiris

Jan 5

finding the leg/fingers of Osiris

Jan 6

finding the phallus/arm of Osiris

Jan 7

finding the heart of Osiris
Eastern Orthodox Christmas, i.e. a new Jesus is made.
Jan 8raising the Djed pillar
finding arm/Horus sons; raising the Djed pillarburial of figures; raising the Djed pillar the TetTetwas set up in Tettu [Busiris], because on this day the divine members of OsirisMembers of Osiriswere brought.”

This thirty-day festival ending in the raising of the djed pillar eventually morphed into the Christmas tree celebration.

Raising of the Djed Ceremony
A visual the so-called "raising of Osiris" or raising of Djed pillar ceremony, which took place on day 30 of the Khoiak month.
Dorothy Murdock (2010) comments how at some point in the Khoiak festival, the Egyptian baby son god Sokar was carried out of the temple on an ark (Ѻ); also that Epiphanius (c.350AD) had his comments about how the Egyptians brought forth a “baby sun born of a virgin at winter solstice” censored.

Vincent Brown (2002) summarizes this as follows: [3]

“The reconstruction of the body of Osiris occurred at a place called Djedu,in the Delta region of Lower Egypt and it was here that the yearly ceremony of 'Raising the Djed Pillar' took place on the last day of the month of Khoiak, the eve of the agricultural New Year. The next day marked the beginning of the four month long season of Pert, or 'Going Forth' during which the lands rose out of the flood waters allowing the fields to be sown. Djedu was also referred to as Per-Asar-Neb-Djedu, meaning "The House of Osiris - the Lord of Djedu". The Greeks called it Busiris, after the shortened title Per-Asar - "The House of Osiris". Mythologically, the 'Raising of the Djed' symbolised the resurrection of Osiris, and with its annual re-enactment represented the death and renewal of the yearly cycle. Osiris is referred to as "Lord of the Year" in the Pyramid Texts and that he was also the god of agriculture meant that his annual resurrection ensured the stability of the abundance of the next season's crops.”

On the eve of the new year, i.e. the last day of the month of Khoiak, a golden statue of the ba of Osiris would be brought up to the temple kiosk (Ѻ) to be put in the sun to rejuvenate the soul of of Osiris, or something along these lines. The image shown, at right, is the Dendera Temple kiosk, about which Mick Palarczyk summarized the following: [5]

Dendera Temple kiosk
The Dendera Temple "kiosk" where the golden Ba statue of Osiris would be brought to on day 30 of the Khoiak festival. [5]
"Located on the roof of the Hathor Temple at Dendera this kiosk was used during the celebration of the New Year's Festival. On the eve of New Year [day 30] a golden statue of the soul (ba) of Hathor was brought up here from a crypt below the southern wall in a solemn procession. The statue, together with images of other gods, was placed below a cloth which was suspended over the Hathor headed columns of the kiosk. During the first day of the New Year the cloth was removed at some time so that the rays of the sun could touch the statue, thus rejuvenating its vital energy. This part of the Dendera Temple was built during the later Ptolemaic period (first century BC)."


1. Koiak – Wikipedia.
2. Festivals of Khoiak – University College London.
3. Djed – PyramidOfMan.com.
4. Osiris Bed – Encyclopedia of Egyptian Mythology Wiki.
5. (a) Dendera Temple (photos) – SmugMug.com.
(b) Mick Palarczyk (about) – Palarczyk.com.

Further reading
● Bleeker, Claas J. (1967). Egyptian Festivals: Enactments of Religious Renewal (Khoiak, 15+ pgs). Brill.

External links
Osirian Khoiak Festival Drama – Encyclopedia.com.

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