Ancient Egypt for Kids
The ancient Egyptians were fascinating people, and thanks to the movies are often misunderstood. The ancient Egyptians were not in love with death. They were in love with life! They worked very hard, but saved time to enjoy family, friends, music, parties, swimming, fishing, hunting, sailing, and especially their children, all of which were very important to the ancient Egyptians. This ancient culture was not based on fear. It was based on kindness.
The ancient Egyptian believed that their life on earth was just the beginning. After they died, the next step in their journey would be to magically travel to their perfect afterlife, where they would live forever. There was a catch, though. To reach their afterlife, the ancient Egyptians believed they had to do many good deeds while they were alive to keep their heart light. What happened to them if their hearts were not light when they died? Oh dear - find out here.
The ancient Egyptians had over 2,000 gods they believed would help them with their life and help them reach their afterlife. Most ancient Egyptian gods had animal heads or green bodies or something that set them apart from people. You might think the ancient Egyptian people would be afraid of these very scary looking gods. They were not afraid at all, at least, not of most of them anyway. They prayed to statues of their gods in their temples, and made wishes for things they wanted. If their prayers were not answered, they might give the statue a little whack with a reed to let the gods know they were quite disappointed, but they understood that you could not always get everything you asked for.
Which all goes to explain why a popular family outing was visiting the family tomb with armloads of grave goods the family had made, things they might need in their afterlife to make their eternity comfortable and fun. They made little statues of people out of clay, each about 3-8 inches tall. They believed these little statues would come alive in their afterlife, and run around and do all the chores, leaving them free to enjoy themselves. As all ancient Egyptians knew, after you died, your Ka, your spirit, flew off to enjoy endless, perfect days along a magical Nile. At night, your Ba, your night spirit, returned to your tomb, because even mummies need a good night's sleep. The ancient Egyptians were, after all, very practical in their way.
Five thousand (5,000) years ago, the ancient Egyptian made their home at the mouth of the Nile River, where the Nile runs into the Mediterranean Sea. It was a wonderful place to live. The soil was rich. Food was plentiful. They were surrounded by desert, which kept them safe from intruders, but the Nile kept their world green. They did their best to chase away other ancient people who wanted to take over their land. They were not afraid to fight intruders to protect their unique life along the Nile.
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