What was happening?

This is a fictional story. However, it is based on something we know actually happened in ancient Egypt.

The ancient Egyptians used two different calendars. One was the agricultural calendar. The other was a man-made administrative calendar.

The agricultural year was based on the observation of the stars. Every year, the star 'Sopdet' appeared at dawn in the middle of July, signalling the new year and the start of the flood season.

The administrative calendar was a fixed calendar. The ancient Egyptians created this calendar by observing the movement of groups of stars called 'decans'.

Every ten days, a new decan appeared on the horizon. There were 36 decans in a year, making 360 days per year. Then, the ancient Egyptians added on five days at the end of the year as the birthdays of the gods Osiris, Isis, Nephthys, Seth and Horus.

Since a year is actually about 365.25 days, this calendar was just a little bit off every year. The ancient Egyptians knew the calendar was not accurate, and that every year the problem was getting worse. However, it was a fixed calendar, (one that had even been carved onto the walls of temples), and it was not easy to change.

However, over many hundreds of years, the calendar was so far off that the summer and winter months were reversed. This calendar had to be adjusted many times throughout ancient Egyptian history to keep it accurate.

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