Saturnalia Festival

Symbol of bounty, happiness, feasts, joy, fertilization.

Saturnalia was an eight-day event that took place in December. Slaves and freemen may walk amongst each other at this period. People dressed nicer flamboyant clothes and hung green wreaths on their doors. During this time, wax candles were offered as gifts. During the celebration, there was no labor and gambling tables were set up. Gambling was typically frowned upon, but everything was turned upside down during Saturnalia. Every home had a fake King, who was chosen by tossing a coin into a cake. During Saturnalia, whoever received the coin was king, and everyone, regardless of social class, celebrated with lavish feasts. Slaves would be waited on by their masters. The feet of the statue of Saturn in the temple of Saturn were customarily bound in wool. The woolen bindings were removed during Saturnalia as a show of everyone’s independence.

During a period of peace and prosperity, the deity Saturn ruled over the people. No one had to work, and everyone was given everything. This was reflected in the Saturnalia. Saturnalia was also a Light Festival. Before the winter solstice began, many candles were lit. Saturn was the god of sowing, and this celebration was held after the seeds were planted. There were human sacrifices to Saturn when the event initially began. To commemorate the human sacrifices, miniature terra clay statues were afterwards distributed as gifts. Many Christmas rites and ideas can be traced back to this holiday.

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