Egyptian God Ra: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

Ancient Egyptians told stories about different gods, and how their actions affected the Egyptian people. One of the most important gods was Ra, or the god of the sun. In this lesson, you'll learn about Ra and some of the stories told about him.

Egyptian Gods

Have you ever wondered why Egyptians built those amazing pyramids? Some people think they were made to honor the gods since they have pictures that tell stories about them. Egyptians also built sun temples to honor the god Ra, and these tell even more stories. A sun temple is a stone building that is open at the top so the sun can shine through, unlike a pyramid that is closed at the top.

A sun temple is a stone building that is open at the top
sun temple

Scholars have looked at these stories in the pyramids and sun temples and learned so much about how Egyptians worshiped their gods. The pictures of Ra usually show a human body with the head of a falcon, which is a kind of bird, with a sun above his head.

King of the Gods

Of all the Egyptian gods, Ra is one of the most important. He is the god of the sun, as well as the creator of all things. When scholars looked at the text left behind on Egyptian pyramids and sun temples, they learned his origin story, the story of how he came to be. Ra emerged from the water as a stone and then created everything. He spat out air, moisture, earth, and sky. Egyptians thought that Ra died every night when the sun went down and was reborn every morning when the sun rose again.

Drawings of Ra show him traveling the underworld at night
Ra

An Ancient God

Scholars have found that some of the first mentions of Ra began in the Second Dynasty in Egypt, around 2600 BC, which is a very, very long time ago! As time went on, Ra became one of the most powerful and important gods.

Pharaohs, or the rulers of ancient Egypt, wanted others to think that they were very close to this powerful god. Eventually, they started thinking that the pharaoh was the son of Ra, making the pharaoh into a god as well. Egyptians worshiped Ra for a long time, painting his story on tombs and making sun temples and pyramids to worship him.

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