Io, Saturnalia!

On this day, about 2000 years ago, a guy called Jesus wasn’t born. Jesus’ true birthday was much earlier in the year – the site above puts it in August. The most likely origin of Christmas involves evangelists converting an existing festival called Saturnalia into a Christian celebration. So what was this Saturnalia?

Saturnalia (from the god Saturn) was the name the Romans gave to their holiday marking the Winter Solstice. Over the years, it expanded to a whole week, the 17th through 23rd of December. It also degenerated from mostly tomfoolery, marked chiefly by having masters and servants switch places, to sometimes debauchery, so that the (lower case) word “saturnalia” came to mean “orgy.”

Sounds good to me. I think I’d avoid those kind of shenanigans at family functions, though.

Hope everyone enjoys the holiday season.

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