Io Saturnalia!!

December 17, 2011

Instead of Festivus this year, Saskatoon Freethinkers chose to celebrate the ancient traditions of the Roman festival known as Saturnalia. Including gift giving.

Originally the gifts were symbolic candles and clay dolls – sigillaria – purchased at a colonnaded market called Sigillaria which was located in the Colonnade of the Argonauts, later in one of the Colonnades of Trajan’s Baths. Something similar is still practiced in Rome’s Piazza Navona today. Gifts which could also include food items such as pickled fish, sausages, beans, olives, figs, prunes, nuts and cheap wine as well as small amounts of money grew to be more extravagant over time – small silver objects were typical – as did their acquisition. How modern the first century writer Seneca sounds when he complains about the shopping season: “Decembris used to be a month; now it’s a whole year.” At the same time, Martialis may have been the first sage to remark “The only wealth you keep forever is that which you give away.”

I missed the note about bringing a gift for exchanging but fortunately a few people brought extras. I came home with cupcakes and cast-off smelly candles someone didn’t want. I also took home a couple pieces of the fabulous cake ordered for the party:

Those of you in the Saskatoon area would do well to consider contacting Cakes By Jen next time you want something awesome for your celebration. That thing was gingerbread and the best cake I’ve eaten in ages!!

All in all a good time. We skipped out on sacrificing animals (beyond the wings and the ribs) but koinosuke did something quite unique instead, an anti-sacrifice. She bought chicks.

Looking for unique gift ideas to give friends, family members, or teachers? Plan Canada’s Gifts of Hope directly benefit girls by ensuring they receive nourishment, education, and a safe environment.

Give a Gift of Hope on behalf of someone close to you and change the world for a girl. In turn, she’ll work to raise the standard of living for herself, her family and her community.

Your gift comes with either a personalized printed card or eCard that lets the recipient know the difference that is being made in their name.

The three birds will be raised by women who’ll be able to sell their eggs for a bit of income later on. Consider this kind of thing for that person on your list who already has everything.

Unrelated, but good news: left hand typing has become doable again. I can’t believe how much I’ve missed blogging. The angle winds up a tad awkward so I think posts might still have to be short ones but you should see my fingers go. Hooray! Progress!


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