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Saturnalia


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Saturnalia
information taken directly from History

Saturnalia, held in mid-December, is an ancient Roman pagan festival honoring the agricultural god Saturn.

During Saturnalia, work and business came to a halt. Schools and courts of law closed, and the normal social patterns were suspended.

People decorated their homes with wreaths and other greenery, and shed their traditional togas in favor of colorful clothes known as synthesis. Even slaves did not have to work during Saturnalia, but were allowed to participate in the festivities; in some cases, they sat at the head of the table while their masters served them.

Instead of working, Romans spent Saturnalia gambling, singing, playing music, feasting, socializing and giving each other gifts. Wax taper candles called cerei were common gifts during Saturnalia, to signify light returning after the solstice.

On the last day of Saturnalia celebrations, known as the Sigillaria, many Romans gave their friends and loved ones small terracotta figurines known as signillaria, which may have referred back to older celebrations involving human sacrifice.

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