Today is the first day of the Saturnalia, a Roman festival honoring the agricultural god Saturn. The first Saturnalia was held in 497 BCE for the dedication of the Temple of Saturn in Rome. An annual festival commemorating the dies natalis (anniversary) of this event was held on December 17. The celebration proved so popular that it was extended to three days, then to an entire week, from December 17 to 23.
The age of Saturn was a mythical era when crops grew without human toil, and humanity lived in harmony with nature and each other. This was recalled in the Saturnalia celebration with the reversal of normal societal roles: bosses gave bonuses to their employees, masters served meals to slaves and servants, children were permitted to attend theatrical performances and to gamble.
Other elements of the celebration of Saturnalia include garlands and wreaths of holly and evergreens, candles, decorations of stars and sparkly, metallic ornaments, food and drink, games, gatherings of friends and family, giving gifts.
Featured Image: Roman banquet by Joseph Coomans, 1876. Public Domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons (X) My caption in Latin: I wish you the best Saturnalia!