Saturnalia /sat-ər-NAIL-yə/. noun. The festival of Saturn, the ancient Greek god of agriculture. First celebrated in 497 BC. As part of Saturnalia, slaves were treated to a banquet and allowed to make fun of their masters, the toga was replaced by colorful clothes, and slave and masters alike donned conical felt hats. A time of peace, Saturnalia was also marked by temporary cessation of military activities and closing of the courts. Many customs of Saturnalia influence modern-day Christmas and New Year’s activities including the exchange of gifts, decorating with holly branches, and displaying evergreen wreathes. The customary greeting during Saturnalia is “io, Saturnalia!” where “io” is pronounced like “yo.” Try it!
You are here: / / Saturnalia