an overturning of traditional Roman norms and customs.
The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves. The poet Catullus called it “the best of days.”In this we can see many traditions which continue to today: gift giving, parties, masters serving slaves (Boxing Day in the UK and Canada).
Combined with Germanic pagan traditions of solstice festivals, the Christians co-opted Saturnalia for their own purposes and called it Christmas.
Frankly, I’m offended by this usurpation of this important Roman festival.
I say, let’s put the Saturn back into Saturnalia.
Originally published on BloggingBlue when my presence was tolerated if not particularly appreciated...