The debaucherous activities were considered a means for individuals to directly voice themselves to the gods, in what seems like a scary, society-wide version of Woodstock 99. Via the Los Angeles Times:
Since 2001, Johns Hopkins University archaeologist Betsy Bryan has led the excavation of the temple complex of the Egyptian goddess Mut in modern-day Luxor, the site of the city of Thebes in ancient Egypt. And the ritual she has uncovered, which centers on binge drinking, thumping music and orgiastic public sex, probably makes “Jersey Shore” look pretty tame.
Bryan, a specialist in Egypt’s New Kingdom (roughly 1600 to 1000 BC), has painstakingly pieced together the details of the Festivals of Drunkenness, which took place in homes, at temples and in makeshift desert shrines throughout ancient Egypt at least once a year.
Bryan [explains], “What’s really distinctive about these rituals is their communal nature, their participatory aspect. The people in attendance were everybody from the highest elites to groups of far more modest members of society. This was an early means by which people confronted their deities directly, rather than through their priests or leaders. The level of drinking that goes on in the festival…It’s not just to drink but to drink to pass out. Then, everybody awakes to the beating of drums.”