Twice a year at the temple in Abu Simbel, just after sunrise, the rays of the sun illuminate the statues of Ramses, Ra and Amun in the central chamber just after sunrise. The likeness of Ptah, the god of darkness, remains in the shade. The occurrences take place on22 October, the birthday of Ramses, and 22 February, when he ascended to the throne. After the temple was moved to higher ground due to the expected flooding caused by the construction of the Aswan Dam, the positioning was calculated precisely to ensure the Sun Festival could still take place.
The events attract people from all over the world and festivities around the temple are organised by the Ministry of Tourism and the people of Aswan. The event starts just before sunrise, when musicians and dancers gather to perform for visitors and tourists. The participating dancers are dressed in traditional costumes and Nubian music is performed. The festive atmosphere and the mystical nature of the event make for an unforgettable experience.