Io Saturnalia!

I love a good celebration as much as anyone, but if you don’t mind me noticing, December in the US getting a little crowded with festival days, even for those of us who like partying 24/7/30.

Many of these new holidays share a single date; the 5th, for instance, marked as both National Repeal [Prohibition] Day and Bathtub Party Day, which makes sense because with the repeal of the former we were again able to use the latter for its intended purpose, thank heavens. The 9th, Christmas Card Day, teamed with National Pastry Day, makes sense, as long as you wipe your buttery fingers off before addressing the cards. National Flashlight Day cleverly coincides with National Look On the Bright Side Day, the 21stNational Chocolate Day on the  24th teams up with National Eggnog Day for an estimated 12,456,597 calories per person.  And National Make Cut-Out Snowflakes Day cozies up on the 27th with its soul mate, National Fruitcake Day. National Roast Suckling Pig Day sounds wonderful, though I’m wondering why it was scheduled for the 18th, so far from the 25th , unless, of course, your Christmas dinner consists of roast suckling pig sandwiches. Likewise, one wonders why National Bicarbonate of Soda Day is scheduled for the 30th, two full days before we desperately need it, January 1st.

The ancient Romans were more economical, ganging all the zany fun (Chocolate Day, Flashlight Day, Hannukah and Christmas excepted) into one fabulous celebration: Saturnalia. During Saturnalia, which honored the god of agriculture, Saturn, chaos ruled from the 17th to the 23rd, and almost any method of celebrating was permitted, from drinking yourself into a coma to dallying with your neighbor’s wife on the steps of the Curia Hostilia. Masters served their slaves, courts were closed, and gifts of light in the form of candles were given. Seven days in which almost everything in our modern, crowded list could be included, leaving us still with Christmas, Boxing Day and Bicarbonate of Soda Day, which perhaps — as long as we’re taking a trip back in time — we could ask the Roman Senate to move to a later date.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Happy Holidays!

Comments are closed.