What is Saturnalia?
Saturnalia is the feast with which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn, which was on 17 December. Over the years, it expanded to a whole week, to 23 December.
Saturnalia became one of the most popular Roman festivals. It was marked by tomfoolery and reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters ostensibly switched places.
Observed by: Ancient Romans
Type: Pagan, Historical
Celebrations: The dedication of the Temple of Saturn
Origin of this Holiday
Wikipedia encyclopedia tells us "The Saturnalia was a large and important public festival in Rome." "The Saturnalia was originally celebrated in Ancient Rome for only a day,on dec. 17th but it was so popular that soon it lasted a week , ending on Dec. 23rd." despite Augustus' efforts to reduce it to three days, and Caligula's, to five. It involved the conventional sacrifices, a couch (lectisternium) set out in front of the temple of Saturn and the untying of the ropes that bound the statue of Saturn during the rest of the year." "A Saturnalicius princeps was elected master of ceremonies for the proceedings." "Besides the public rites there were a series of holidays and customs celebrated privately." "The celebrations included a school holiday, the making and giving of small presents (saturnalia et sigillaricia) and a special market (sigillaria). Gambling was allowed for all, even slaves; however, although it was officially condoned only during this period, one should not assume that it was rare or much remarked upon during the rest of the year." "It was a time to eat, drink, and be merry." "The toga was not worn, but rather the synthesis, i.e. colorful, informal "dinner clothes"; and the pileus (freedman's hat) was worn by everyone. Slaves were exempt from punishment, and treated their masters with (a pretense of) disrespect." "The slaves celebrated a banquet: before, with, or served by the masters." "Yet the reversal of the social order was mostly superficial; the banquet, for example, would often be prepared by the slaves, and they would prepare their masters' dinner as well. It was license within careful boundaries; it reversed the social order without subverting it."
"The customary greeting for the occasion is a "io, Saturnalia!" — io (pronounced "yo") being a Latin interjection related to "ho" (as in "Ho, praise to Saturn")."
Other December Holidays around the world
How can I Celebrate this holiday?
- Every Holiday deserves a party! - Get ready for your next party by shopping for the lastest supplies to make your holday a real hit. We found a place that sales products for children and adult parties both.
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When is this holiday celebrated?
Saturnalia is celebrated annually on December 17 !