In ancient Egypt, the Egyptians believed in the afterlife; that life on earth was not ultimately the end of the journey but rather a path to living after crossing to the other side.
They believed that when an individual dies, the soul remains to journey on into the afterlife, which is where all possessions lost on earth are restored.
Therefore, they preserve their bodies even in death and are buried with possessions that they might need in their journey to the afterlife. This term is usually called ‘mummification.’ This involves proper washing and purification of the body for preservation, removing the brain by hook, as well as other internal structures, burying the body in naron salt(a chemical salt with excellent drying properties) for 40 days before stuffing the mummy with soaked linens and resin. As a result of the arid climate conditions of Egypt, the hot, dry desert sand easily dehydrated the body allowing the whole modification process to occur naturally.
Here are a number of interesting facts about the Egyptian Mummy;
1. It takes 70days to finish the whole modification process
2. Mummification was an expensive process, and as such, only wealthy people could afford it
3. Mummifying a dead body was very important to gaining entry into the afterlife; no mummy, no afterlife.
4. All internal structures of the body like the intestines, liver, kidney, lungs etc are removed except the heart; these internal structures are also mummified and kept in a jar to be buried with the whole body
5. It is believed that the heart of a mummy is a prerequisite to the test to gain access to the afterlife
6. Sometimes, make-up artists are often called upon to beautify the mummy, to give it an uplifting look. They go as far as painting the nails of the mummy with Henna dye.
7. After the mummy is wrapped, the mouth area is usually left open; this is to enable the mummy to eat, drink, speak and breathe well in the afterlife.
8. The pet(s) of the mummy can also be mummified and buried alongside its owner. Pets kept in ancient times included; dogs, cats, monkeys, falcons, lions, etc
9. Only the rich had tombs, poor Egyptians were buried in the sand
10. Anubis is referred to as the god of mummification, a god with the jackal’s head and a human body. It is believed that Anubis will prepare the bodies of the mummy before Osiris, the god of death and resurrection, finally receives them.