Saturnalia | The Roman Winter Party – The Devil & The Dame

Saturnalia | The Roman Winter Party

Saturn - The God

The Agricultural God of Seed and Sow was usually depicted with bound ankles, though during this celebration, the cloths were removed as a way to allow him to wonder around. On the first day, they would sacrifice a young pig in his temple as well. The idea was that he was actually a god of mischief and chaos, hence the changing of order, and to honor this specifically each household would choose a King of Misrule.

 

Celebrations

Unlike other traditions, the Romans treated it more like a long party. It started about the 17th and lasted an entire seven days, ending on the day of the Solstice. They had both large public right as well as household celebrations. A very interested tradition was a week of freedom to their slaves where they would don a red hat  and colorful clothes and could act as insubordinate as they wanted to their owners and others. The slaves could even be treated to having a meal they prepared served to them by their owners. This particular event kept everyone in order, but allowed for a pleasurable time. This also applied to other levels of society, where it allowed every man and woman to be equal. Businesses and courts would close the entire week and  gave way to extravagant banquets, heavy drinking and gambling in public. They would deck the hall with their local greenery and even decorate tree with baubles. Some would go caroling house to house, though they were usually naked. It was warmer this time of year than other places, hopefully.

Fertility Rituals 

In Rome, some of the more common rituals were for the land owner and his wife to out and have sex in the middle of each field. It could be an all day affair if you had a lot of land, but it was almost guaranteed that your crops would grow. They would also offer tributes to the Goddess Flora for fertile lands and wombs. Sounds like one hell of a time, if you ask me. 


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