Join in the fun as we celebrate the Roman festival of Saturnalia alongside Christmas at the National Roman Legion Museum - Saturday 11th December.
It will be a tour of Christmases past, with a look at how it was celebrated by the Romans, Victorians, in the Middle Ages and even in the ‘70’s! With activities in each age, from candle rolling to paper chain making.
Experience the Romans’ very own winter festival from 11:00am to 4:00pm.
Enjoy the Christmas celebrations inside, before stepping out into our snowy Roman garden and back in time to Saturnalia! You might be surprised to see just how many Saturnalia traditions are mirrored in our 21st Century winter celebrations.
Saturnalia was a Roman festival celebrated in December, and shared features with the Christmas festivities of today including decorations, gifts, feasts and lots of fun.
Help decorate the trees in the spirit of Saturnalia, and a warm welcome awaits you with mulled wine and mince pies! (small charge applies).
Saturnalia was a time to give gifts to friends and family just like Christmas. During the festival, not only did nobody work, but everything was topsy-turvy with slaves sitting alongside their masters, and even bossing them around!
Each family appointed a Lord of Misrule, and they could make mischief in the family and get away with it! Does it sound anything like Christmas in your house?
Just as we hang shiny baubles on trees and enjoy the twinkle of fairy lights, the Romans would decorate trees outside with stars, suns and faces of the God Janus. They even decorated their homes with candles and holly, just as we do today.
So, come and enjoy the festive spirit of the Romans. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year or, as the Romans would say, “Io bona Saturnalia”!