Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the god Saturn, held on
17 December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to
The AISPhila is inviting
Members and Students
to celebrate Saturnalia in our new location
Thursday, December 7/14 from 5:30 to 7:30
230 South Broad Street, Suite 1105
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Please, RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215 735 3250
- Saturnalia was a day (then a week) of feasting and celebration.
- -After the religious rites were completed, people would partake in a public banquet. There was also a lectisternium, a banquet in which an effigy of Saturn was a guest - as though the god was in attendance. According to the historian Livy, this practice was introduced in 217 BC.
- - Another important aspect of the Saturnalia festival was the temporary inversion of the social order. For example, slaves would be treated as equals in remembrance of the Golden Age, when slavery was not known. Thus, slaves were allowed to wear nice clothes, to sit at the head of the table, to gamble, and basically to have time-off.
- - Additionally, a ‘King of Misrule’ was selected in each household on this day, and slaves were eligible as well. The ‘King of Misrule’ would have temporary authority to command the male head of the family, the paterfamilias, to do his bidding.
- - One Saturnalia practice which bears an uncanny resemblance to a Christmas tradition is the giving of gifts. The last day of the festival (December 23) was known as the Sigillaria (which means the ‘Day of Little Figurines’). Traditionally, people gave each other simple figurines or traditional gifts.