Saturday Scenes

Fri 23 December 2011

Celebrating Saturnalia

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 14:18

In ancient Roman times, the 17th of December was the day of the festival in honour of the deity Saturn, the god of seed and sowing. 17 December was (then) the first day of the astrological sign Capricorn, when the sun entered the constellation of Capricornus. Capricorn is ruled by the planet Saturn.

Saturnalia, described as “the best of days”, was traditionally focused on reversals – celebrating the opposite of what was normal. Schools and businesses were closed and a feast was served for the slaves who dressed in their masters’ clothes. Evening dress was worn all day and dice games, normally prohibited, were enjoyed by all. Gifts were given, commonly candles but “gag gifts” of low value were also popular, especially in later times.

Saturnalia – Wikipedia

In his many poems about the Saturnalia, Martial names both expensive and quite cheap gifts, including writing tablets, dice, knucklebones, moneyboxes, combs, toothpicks, a hat, a hunting knife, an axe, various lamps, balls, perfumes, pipes, a pig, a sausage, a parrot, tables, cups, spoons, items of clothing, statues, masks, books, and pets.

So if you still have last-minute Christmas shopping to do, perhaps you can steal some ideas from the ancient Romans! I’d be quite happy with a writing tablet and a sausage, really.

Meanwhile, in a lucky coincidence, the 17th of December of 2011 took place on a Saturday, which comes from dies Saturni which of course means Saturn’s Day.

We all celebrated by taking photographs! Take a look:

And these are the capricious people who took them:

Next Saturday, why don’t you join us?

All you need to do is take a photograph on Saturday and tweet it to @SatScenes with your location. It’s easy and fun, so what’s stopping you?

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