The Ancient Egyptian Funeral Procession

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The Ancient Egyptian Funeral Procession

Opening of the mouth ceremony
The funeral procession began at the deceased person’s house where the relatives begin their journey to the designated tomb. If the deceased person was wealthy, the family would afford professional musicians, dancers, mourners and priests to take part in the funeral procession. The procession was lead by musicians and dancers followed by the mummified person in an anthropoid coffin which was pulled on a sledge by oxen with relatives on either side. They were joined by two female relatives or priestesses acting as Isis and Nephthys, the chief mourners in Egyptian culture. Professional mourners followed the coffin along with priests, some adorning animal pelts. Slaves and servants of the deceased carried canopic jars, furniture, cosmetics, jewellery food and the sacrificial foreleg of a calf. The procession continued until they reached the Nile where the participants then had to board boats to reach the western side, the favoured location for burials.

When the procession reached the tomb, priests performed ceremonies to Osiris, the god of the afterlife, however the most significant death ritual was the opening of the mouth ceremony. The anthropoid coffin containing the mummy was held in the standing position by the masked priest resembling Anubis, facing south while a close family member burnt incense and mourners ululated. Prayers and spells were chanted by the priests who also purified the mummy with salt and cow’s milk. The mummy was anointed with oils and offerings of food, clothing and the calf’s leg were made. A priest touched the mouth, ears, eyes and nose with a symbolic adze in order to allow the deceased to eat, see, smell and Professional female mourners breathe in their next life. Finally, the mummified person was placed in a sarcophagus and left inside the burial crypt. The tomb was sealed off and the funeral procession ended with a feast and celebrations for the deceased...
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