Ancient Egyptians entertainment could be defined in an exhilarating way. Even if the ancient Egyptians were regularly described as death-obsessed and doers, you should know that they certainly had a unique and fantastic appreciation for lifestyles and their tradition, which was reflected in their beliefs in existence as an eternal adventure.
Truly, you could not imagine how these people immersed themselves in an active lifestyle despite the scorching heat of the sun in the desert. They looked elegant in their white robes, particularly the royals, but they were the embodiment of various kinds of recreation. It’s their quest for fun that mattered to them and not the elegance of their garments.
How did they entertain themselves? Was there any form of leisure in the ancient times? One of the ways they pursued fun is familiar to absolutely everyone in the modern world, and that is through sports and recreation.
You’ve got to know that the ancient Egyptians were avid fans of a wide range of sporting activities and athletics, which were existent in the entire country at that time.
These sporting activities were the most effective ways to entertain a typical Egyptian as everyone was expected to surpass one another’s strength and agility in all kinds of sporting events. You can’t find a debilitated man in Egypt because to be a real man is to show his prowess in action, whether in the desert or in the arena before a large audience.
These vigorous sporting activities played an essential role in their way of life. Young Egyptian boys loved to do cartwheels everywhere because the kingdom was enormous for them to play, and it was their pure source of fun.
You would love to see them stretching their muscles in a friendly duel, and even fathers encouraged their sons to wrestle in a friendly manner.
What Did Ancient Egyptians Do for Fun?
Egyptians appeared to have enjoyed wrestling, archery, and javelin throwing, as shown by the writings in ancient tombs. You can probably tell how they trained themselves to make sure they have an outstanding game.
Wrestling is an agile sport that can be competitive or entertaining, but it requires a strong physical ability.
To play the Egyptian way, you need to learn real combat in clinching your opponent’s body. Wasn’t it a great show of sportsmanship while you attempt superiority over your sparring partner?
As an Egyptian in ancient times, you must perform well in athletics and body fitness. The pharaoh loved to see his men in the right form. Parents were proud of their invulnerable sons.
Yes, it was an honor at that time to be the strongest, the smartest, and the fastest in any combat. No achievement in sports was ignored. Everyone was given proper recognition, even for what can be considered a small fight.
You can always have entertainment in athletics as an important activity in the lives of the Egyptians during the ancient age. Interestingly, sports activities contributed a significant part to the pharaoh’s coronation day or even in various ceremonies, such as celebrations of victories in battles, religious ceremonies, family rituals, village festivals, and thanksgiving ceremonies.
You will be impressed to learn how they valued their time and relationships. Games, as you know, were evidently popular activities to foster entertainment, friendship, camaraderie, unity, and brotherhood. Although they lived in the past, they were spent meaningful time together. You could not undermine their joy while playing simple games in the Nile.
Although ancient Egypt recreation was typically done along the Nile or at an oasis in the desert, they were proud to stage a legitimate and active event for all. Lovers of simplicity, Egyptians were filled with abundant joy while playing in the sand or in the river. Their source of entertainment was not about superficial gatherings but ancient Egyptian activities of action and thrill.
You must know that the games they played have existed for over a thousand years. They have been introduced from generation to generation as part of the classic Egyptian culture.
Through these ancient Egyptian activities, the people could discover the parts of life the ancient Egyptian citizens went through. Amazingly, you might notice that our fondness for group games is similar to the taste of the people in the past. They enjoyed their spare time just like how we would today.
– Getting Children To Emulate Their Seniors
At a very young age, most children in ancient Egypt were considered adults, and they were always exposed to the broad daylight all day long. However, many archaeologists have found children’s toys that were made of clay and wood with leather parts.
Girls’ dolls were produced from cloth and grass, hay, and after some time, horsehair. Their appearance is similar to what the toys look like in today’s time.
Ladies usually performed games that were much less physically draining and much less aggressive. Everybody, regardless of social status and gender, loved swimming in the Nile and dancing.
Most citizens of ancient Egypt lived near the Nile River, such that it’s where the real action was happening. As a result, they were excellent swimmers who loved playing in the water or swimming and playing with all their might.
Just like in most societies, the wealthy had more time to spend on such entertainment, whereas the poor must spend most of their time working. Nevertheless, they sincerely enjoyed the games and festivals back then.
You must be reminded of their genuine heart while playing. Nobody was after rivalry. It’s not about bragging about your ability, but it was about a collective action to have fun and enjoy their time.
– Hunting and Fishing in the Past
Ancient Egypt hunting was not just for those who needed food for the day but also for entertainment. Large game animals, including lions and hippos, were sometimes brought to be hunted in an enclosed area for rich nobles or sometimes for the pharaoh to hunt, even if the pharaoh could have his meat hunted for him.
Egyptians used spears, arrows, and other dangerous equipment to hunt dangerous animals. Have you imagined the king running to launch a spear? This was done to show his prowess and skill in combat because, as a commander of the army, it was his pride to stay fit.
You could imagine the excitement of hunting with the pharaoh. In this scenario, they only proved that the pharaoh was not just a human god but a real human who could share life and joy with everyone.
Aside from hunting, they also loved fishing. There were also ancient Egyptian boats made solely for the purpose of fishing, and the ancient Egyptians were trained to fish, considering that the Nile is a great fishing area in the region.
Likewise, you should remember that there are seas in the north and the east of Egypt. It’s where they entertained themselves while fishing and swimming.
– Mehen and Senet
Would you like to play board games? Ancient Egyptians preferred to use board games for entertainment. They gathered to play board games that measured their innate intelligence in planning, attacking, and decision making.
Egyptians truly enjoyed playing a number of board games, as proven by the hieroglyphic writings discovered in ancient tombs and palaces. It was the Egyptian way of having clean fun while bonding with their family members and friends.
Now, you can see that they’re clever given that they’re ready to sit down and concentrate. It’s difficult to focus particularly when you are not used to that.
Mehen and Senet were two of the most popular games back then. Senet is almost 5000 years old. One of the oldest recognized Senet board representations ever found was a painting from 2686 BC in the tomb of Hesy-re.
Many pharaohs in the past were buried with their Senet boards because of their popularity. Can you imagine how important they were? Their love of Senet was between and beyond life. It was a tricky game representing a human’s journey in life as well as a symbol of our soul passing through death to reach the next life.
Philosophically speaking, did the Egyptians believe in life after death? Being religious, ancient Egyptians believed in another life after death, and it’s quite the same as our life on earth. They also trusted the supernatural ability of their gods to save them in their journey to the next world. Ancient Egyptians had high hopes that their transition from their life on earth will be smooth.
The objective of the sport was to be the primary participant to pass into the afterlife unscathed by any terrible circumstance along the way. Senet boards had been placed in graves because they believed the dead could use them on their risky journey to the afterlife. They were a symbol of their patience to win the challenges of life after death. Senet represented their journey, and it must be a beautiful one.
Do you know that four Senet boards have been discovered in King Tutankhamen’s tomb? They believed that the winners of the game would be protected by the gods Thoth, Ra, and Osiris.
Mehen is also known as the Game of Snakes and was derived from the name of a snake god. Proofs of Mehen dated back as early as 3000 BC. The board is round, and it is a snake curled around itself separated into small rectangular pieces, along with the head of the snake in the middle part.
Some pieces of the game board have been found with numbers inside the rectangular shape along with the game pieces also with numbers placed inside the rectangular spaces. Other pieces were shaped like lions and lionesses, along with balls that may imitate how a marble looks and works.
– Egyptian Toys
Meanwhile, ancient Egyptian hobbies included their love of toys. Children loved to make toys and play with them. You can see that the kind of entertainment early Egyptians had is practically the same as what we have in our generation.
They played with toys, such as juggling props, puppets, dolls, pull cars, and kitchen toys for girls. They could be made of clay or stone, which the kids in the past enjoyed.
– Chariot Races
Chariots were first used in 1600 BC and were considered the best innovation made in the ancient world. They were chosen as a fast and comfortable mode of transportation for the Egyptian leaders and soldiers.
Men of valor rode chariots gallantly as they served the royal palace. Pharaohs were often depicted riding chariots with the most handsome horses. You may have heard of Tutankhamun and his fascination with chariots. Archeologists have even reported that chariots were found in his chamber in the pyramid, as unveiled in their excavations.
For their entertainment, the Egyptians assembled brave men and soldiers who wanted to join the chariot race. It was a spectacular scene in the Nile as decorated chariots rushed to the finished line to win the prize.
Based on what the carvings on ancient Egyptian tombs looked like, sports may have been confirmed to be a hot topic back then. Ancient Egyptians utilized their sports to train young male Egyptian citizens for battle. Kind of like how chariot races would help improve the skills of chariot drivers. You would love the courage of those young men.
Since the establishment of the chariot race, people flocked to the game area to witness another milestone in their history. The chariot race was entertaining but sometimes even bloody. Egyptians didn’t care about being hurt because in the game of life, nobody is spared of pain.
– Music, Singing, Dancing, and Partying
Do you know that the ancient Egyptians loved music, singing, and dancing? In other words, they enjoyed partying with their family and friends. You can tell that they’re the same as other races. Historians mentioned that parties were for the royal people, but common people were also privileged to have fun.
Banquets were held in Egypt with lots of delicacies to share. They loved meat and wine that’s why people could indulge in eating and drinking during ancient Egypt parties.
Parties were more meaningful with music, dancing, and singing, which the Egyptians loved as well. They knew how to entertain themselves as well as their guests, so everybody’s heart was filled with fun.
Another entertainment of Egyptians during the ancient age was storytelling. Although most storytelling was executed orally in historic Egypt, we are fortunate enough to have found remaining scribes that recorded some of them.
Nonetheless, as with all oral messages, stories could evolve and change completely over the years, with some additions and other transformations according to the storyteller and the surroundings at the time. You can guess that the stories narrated were mostly about gods and deities as well as supernatural narratives of the gods and men.
Everyone loves storytelling, and even modern men can’t resist listening to interesting stories. You may also be enchanted to tell stories about the past and the future, about the rich and poor, and about the strong and the weak.
Most of all, ancient Egyptians were curious about the lives of pharaohs and the royal people, probably because they were secluded in their palaces and were seldom seen by the public.
Aside from just a shape of historic Egyptian enjoyment, telling tales additionally had a useful role. The various stories could act as a warning for the listener to not fall into the mistakes and traps of a character of the said story.
Much has been said about entertainment in the past. With the fun and thrill in sports, games, and stories, you could probably cherish the moment those people laughed for victory.
They were simply honest and pure. You could see in all narratives written about them that they had lived their lives to the fullest. It was not about the social status, but it’s their commitment to life that made more meaning.
Ancient Egyptian entertainment was made of pure excitement and relaxation. They didn’t have sophisticated toys, but they could enjoy sports, such as wrestling and archery. These sports normally included agility and physical strength, but ancient Egyptians, particularly the young ones, were bold and strong.
Aside from wrestling, the people also loved hunting, and it was a game that even the pharaoh and high officials of the kingdom joined to hunt for lions, tigers, and other wild animals. It was a spectacular event to see the elite in the kingdom hunting with everyone. It was not about the haves or the have nots, but the name of the game was being vigorous and fearless.
You have also learned that the girls played with toys made of mud and that they loved being entertained by simple toys and animals. Who would have asked for more when you’re filled with joy and affection?
The Egyptian’s love of sportsmanship is endless. They pursued loyalty and friendly fights, which fostered unity and fairness. They were united whatever happened, and the true meaning of entertainment was not just about having fun. Despite the simplicity of life, what’s important was the feeling of fulfillment at the end of the day because their joy was emanating from within.