Family households threw dice to determine who would become the temporary (much like Ashish) monarch during the festival of Saturnalia, the pagan Roman winter solstice festival.

It was a public holiday celebrated around December 25th in the family home. A time for feasting, goodwill, giving to the poor and decorating trees.

The first-century CE poet Gaius Valerius Catullus described Saturnalia as ‘the best of times’ when dress codes were relaxed, and small gifts such as dolls, candles and caged birds were exchanged.

Saturnalia also meant an exchange of social roles, decidedly temporary. The wealthy were expected to pay the month’s rent for those who couldn’t afford it; and masters and slaves swapped clothes.

It began as a farmer’s festival to mark the end of the autumn planting season in honor of Saturn (satus means sowing). Archaeological sites from the Roman coastal province of Constantine, now in Algeria, show that the cult of Saturn survived there until the early third century CE.

Saturnalia grew longer and was held on progressively later dates during the Roman era. During the reign of the Emperor Augustus (63 BCE-14CE), it was a two-day event beginning on December 17th. But it evolved over time into a seven-day happening. Changes to the Roman calendar moved the end of Saturnalia to December 25th, around the time of the date of the winter solstice.

In honor of the season, whatever you choose to call it, we wanted to share some pictures from Big Five’s holiday/winter (remember we are in Florida) party here. No, we did not swap clothing. That would have been creepy.  

All of us at Big Five wish you and your families a holiday filled with joy, celebration and all good things (and maybe a few silly ones).  And, may 2017 be a year of peace, health and prosperity for us all.


Big Five

From: Big Five Travel

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