Saturnalia: The Show Notes
Tis the season to Praise Saturn, eat too much, drink too much, and celebrate with friends and family. We had a lot of fun researching the Ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia and we wanted to share that fun in the show notes.
Here is a handy article with all the tips for celebrating Saturnalia.
And for those of you who don’t know what SantaCon is (lucky lucky people) here is an image to haunt your holiday dreams.
Wishing you and yours Io Saturnalia. We’ll be back with a new episode in 2019!
James Frazer: The Golden Bough
ok great episode IO SATURNALIA!!!!!!
Glad I remembered to comment tonight because I think tonight is the actual Winter Solstice. Anyways you guys asked us listeners to write in if we had any non-western customs that are similar to Saturnalia; So here I go!
(*pronunciation note: 1 a is short like ‘apple’ & 2 aa’s make the long sound as in ‘father’)
I’m Iranian-American so parts of Saturnalia sound familiar to our winter solstice holiday Shab-eh Yaldaa (sometimes called Shab eh chelleh) This ancient holiday is celebrated all across the Persian-speaking world & has traditions that date all the way back to the pre-Islamic days of Zoroastrianism (*I’m technically not sure if that makes it pagan); though it maybe even older than that! (think Babylonian).
On this night families gather together to celebrate the end of the long nights and the bringing back of the sun (like Sol Invictus). We throw a party & light candles and stay up past midnight or maybe all-night-long. Just like in Saturnalia, Dry fruits @ nuts are very traditional for this holiday; which i believed the Romans also ate with gusto on Saturnalia. Stories Jokes & poetry, music, dancing and singing are pretty common as you’re staying up late. The parties don’t quite reach Saturnalia levels raucous because of Iran’s alcohol ban’ but lots of Iranians drink to celebrate anyways.
Older traditions use to include: lighting candles both outdoors & in court yards, & lighting bonfires, as well as a special in-door brazier called a korsi. Apparently gift giving or at least giving dry fruit & sweets use to be common practice too for engagements; & still might be in Tajikistan…
There’s no king of saturnalia but for our other big festival in Iran, Persian New Year’s or No-rooz ; there’s a colorful figure called Haji Firooz. He’s the herald of the new Year/spring equinox. He wears bright red clothes like a caftan or robe with a funny red hat. He’s kind of a comical clownish figure who either paints his face black or uses ashes/soot to paint it black. Hes accompanied by another figure called Amoo Norooz (Uncle New Year) a old man with a long white beard, he could pass for Saturn if you’re stretching a bit.
Thats all i got for now here’s some for more info on Yalda’s connection to Mithra & Sol Invictus
There is so much cool stuff in this that resembles Saturnalia–the food, the lighting of candles and braziers, the gift-giving, and even the corked faces! It makes us wonder at the antiquity and the ancient common roots of these traditions. Thanks so much for sharing!