In the Roman Empire, Saturnalia was a religious festival celebrated in Rome and the provinces between December 17 and 24. It commemorated the reign of Saturn, god of grain and agriculture. It was the manifestation of the festivals of liberty (libertas decembris) and the Underworld. Roman slaves had a day of freedom when they became the masters and were served by their own masters who acted as slaves. The Festival of the Madmen in the Middle Ages can be traced back to Saturnalia.
Canadian Heritage Information Network
Mission de la recherche et de la technologie, Direction des Musées de France, Musée de la civilisation, Provincial Museum of Alberta, Musée national des arts et traditions populaires, Département de l'organisation des systèmes d'information,

© 1995, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans