Bast was the ancient
Bast is also known as Bastet, Ubasti, and Pasch. She was worshipped at least since the Second Dynasty in Ancient Egypt. The centre of her
In later times Bast became the goddess of protection and blessing,and was the protectress of women, children, and domestic cats. She was the goddess of sunrise, music, dance, and pleasure as well as family, fertility, and birth. When
This gentler characteristic, of Bast as goddess of
Bastet was the most honoured feline deity in Ancient Egypt. The cult of Bastet started around the town of Bubastis, located in the Eastern Delta in Lower Egypt (around 3,200 B.C.), and was an important town from the Old Kingdom through the Late Period. During early Egyptian times the city was called Per-Bast which translates into “the domain of Bast”. Later the city was called Bubastis. Today it is called Tell Basta. Bastet was worshipped elsewhere, for example: Memphis (during the Old Kingdom) where she was associated with Sekhmet,
Elaborate festivals of Bastet were called: “Procession of Bastet”, “Bastet protects the two lands”, “Bastet goes forth from Per-Bast” (her city), “Bastet appears before Ra” and the “Festival of Hathor and Bastet”. Her main festivals were celebrated in April and May in Bubastis. Her festivals were some of the most popular in Egypt, because of all the music, dancing and wine. Over 700,000 people came from all over Egypt, often in boats, sailing along the Nile. Men and women sailed together. During their journey they would sing, clap their hands, the women would shake their rattles, the men would play their flutes. Each time when they sailed past people or towns along the Nile, everybody would start singing, cheering and clapping together.
In Bubastis the festival began by making sacrifices to Bastet. The Temple of Bast stood in the town center, so one could see it from everywhere. It stood on raised ground. The outside wall of the temple was decorated with pictures of animals. Inside the temple was a
During the days of celebration, the Egyptians spent many days making music, dancing and being joyful. Worshippers went to her temple playing instruments, beating drums, shaking tambourines, carrying sistras (sacred rattles), singing and dancing through the streets. “One aspect of the festival, however, was quite moving, and came on the last night. In a town of silence, a town of darkness, a single light would be lit inside the Temple of Bast. And from there the light would spread through the town, carried by devotees; and prayers would rise into the night, accompanied by music and incense.” Bastet, the goddess of cats, was important. She had temples where she was worshiped. The Egyptian people would give sacrifices to her like spice, water, wine, milk, bread and meat. She also would be given gold, diamonds, silver, perfumes and other riches. The people of Egypt would also dance and sing to her because she was also the goddess of dancing and singing. They also feasted in her temple to show that she was important.