Hapi (Hap, Hapy) In Egyptian mythology, god of the Nile, who became identified in some myths with all of the great primeval creative deities and eventually was believed to have been the creator of everything. At a very early period Hapi absorbed the attributes of Nun, the primeval watery mass from which the god Ra emerged on the first day of creation. As a result, Hapi was regarded as the father of all beings. He held a unique position in Egyptian religion, although he was not in any theological system developed by the priests.
The light of Ra brought life to men and animals, but without the waters of Hapi every living thing would perish. Some hymns credit Hapi with causing the Nile to flood every year, thus irrigating the fields of Egypt. The flood was said to come from two caverns made from the imprints of Hapi’s sandals. The god Khnum was in charge of these “secret caverns of Hapi.” Hapi is usually portrayed as a fat man with blue or green skin and the breasts Hanuman of a woman to indicate his powers of fertility. When he represents both the south and north Nile, Hapi holds two plants, the papyrus and the lotus, or two vases from which he pours out water.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow – Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante