Ancient Egyptian conviviality
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The beer hallThis seems to have been a gathering place for the lord of the manor and his friends. In the tomb of Petosiris the deceased is shown playing a game on a board of 33 squares arranged in three rows
The Great of the Five, Petosiris, enjoys himself playing with his friends after dinner, until the time when he refreshes himself in the beer hall.It is not quite clear what went on in these beer halls apart from the obvious drinking. At any rate, not having been able to enjoy himself thus seemed a great privation to Tefnakhte when he surrendered to Piye, describing the hardships he had suffered:
I have not sat in the beer-hall, nor has the harp been played for me; but I have eaten bread in hunger, and I have drunk water in thirst.At times people took considerable risks upon themselves. The beer hall seems to have stood for more than just a few pints and a sing-song with one's chums, when the men accused of having attempted to assassinate Ramses III met some women:
Persons upon whom punishment was executed by cutting off their noses and their ears, because of their forsaking the good testimony (i.i the king's instructions) delivered to them. The women had gone; had arrived at their place of abode, and had there caroused (lit. made a beer-hall) with them (some of the accused in the harem conspiracy against Ramses III) and with Peyes. Their crime seized them.
If you are one among guests
Men and women sat apart, the host on a chair, the guests on stools, pillows or floormats. During the New Kingdom they were sometimes depicted as wearing a cone on their heads. Conventional wisdom has it that these were made of scented grease, which would melt and flow down the wig releasing the perfume. Few traces if any of such grease have been found on wigs, and fastening grease cones to hairpieces without them falling off, would not have been easy. It may therefore have been a pictorial convention similar to the lotus flowers hovering above the heads of revellers. 
These banquets appear to have been staid affairs, the worst that seems to have happened to the guests was to become drunk (and there are pictures of that having happened) or overeat.
The entertainment consisted of storytelling, music, above all flute, oboe and harp playing duets or trios, at times accompanying a singer or a reciter. Dancing, some of it quite acrobatic, with backsomersaults and the like, was performed by scantily dressed girls. Dwarfs were always popular, and wrestlers were sometimes hired.
Towards the end of the evening, the mood might turn more sombre and the guests might be reminded of the shortness of life by a singer
The bodies return to their source since the days of the god, and younger generations rise in their stead. As long as Re rises in the morning, as long as Tum goes to his resting place at Manu, the males will beget and females get pregnant, the nostrils will breathe air. But all who enter this world will return one day to their origin.or by statues of mummies as described by Herodotus, who - as inventor of feature story reporting - had an ear for a (possibly) extraordinary story:
In the entertainments of the rich among them, when they have finished eating, a man bears round a wooden figure of a dead body in a coffin, made as like the reality as may be both by painting and carving, and measuring about a cubit or two cubits each way; and this he shows to each of those who are drinking together, saying: "When thou lookest upon this, drink and be merry, for thou shalt be such as this when thou art dead." Thus they do at their carousals.During Graeco-Roman times at least, invitations to dos could be rather formal. Proud parents invited friends and acquaintances to wedding-parties, generally held in the early afternoons, with notes like this:
Herais requests your company at dinner, in celebration of the marriage of her children, at her house tomorrow, the 5th, at 9 o'clockReligious holidays, too, called for celebrations which at times were held in the temples themselves, and good hosts made sure their guests would be properly received and looked after:
Greeting, my dear Serenia, from Petosiris. Be sure, dear, to come up on the 20th for the birthday festival of the god, and let me know whether you are coming by boat or by donkey, in order that we may send for you, accordingly. Take care not to forget. I pray for your continued health.
 A Harper's song lamenting a dead person reminds the living to go on celebrating life
I have wept, I have mourned!
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