Ancient Babylonia - The New Year's
The Babylonians had many festivals and feasts.
Probably the most important of these was the New Year's Festival. The festival
happened in the first eleven days of the month Nisan which meant that the
festival coincided with the spring equinox. This is because the equinox marks
the beginning of another cycle when the days get longer and then shorter again
until the winter equinox. The days shorter, and then longer, and then the year
ends when day and night are the same length, the spring equinox.
first five days of the New Year's Festival there were many ceremonies of
purification. These culminated when on the fifth day the King was taken, by the
High Priest, to Marduk in the Temple of Esagila. The King had his insignia
removed and he was then accused of crimes against the city of Babylon. The King
was hit and then was forced to kneel and plead his innocence. The King then had
his insignia restored.
On the sixth day the statue of Nabu was taken
from his temple in Borsippa, about ten miles from Babylon, and brought to his
father's, Marduk's temple in Babylon.
The tenth day was the great climax
to the celebration. Marduk, Nabu and many other gods assembled and went, by
river and road, to a place called the Akitu house. Here a ceremonial battle took
place showing Marduk overcoming the forces of evil. The gods then returned to
the temple of Esagila.www.bible-history.com