The Saturnalia festival in ancient Rome was one of the most popular Roman holidays. Here are five facts about the ancient festival.
1. Io Saturnalia was the seasonal greeting used during Saturnalia.
2. Saturnalia lasted between one day to two weeks in mid-December.
3. The festival celebrates the god Saturn and the winter solstice. Saturn was believed to be the god who taught agriculture to the Romans.
4. Many Christmas traditions are similar to Saturnalia traditions. When the Roman calendar changed, the main feast was held around the 25th of December. People exchanged presents and decorated their homes with wreaths.
5. During Saturnalia, all school and business was halted, and masters swapped roles with servants.
For more information about ancient Roman traditions, check out our middle school resources.