Skip to main content

Io Saturnalia: Merry Christmas the Roman Way

Discover this mid-winter week-long festival of the Saturnalia, a party in which the ‘serious was barred’. Saturnalia honoured the god Saturn and remembered his Golden Age on Earth when no one had to work. So parties, good food, silly games such as Forfeits, singing and gambling – even for slaves - were the order of the week. Accredited Lecturer Gillian Howell highlights how holly wreaths, presents, candles, even cheap party hats at the main meal all originate from this pre-Christmas Christmastime festival! You’ll have plenty to fascinating and fun facts chat about over the Christmas dinner!


Our Societies support hundreds of local arts and heritage projects. Each day we highlight a grant given in 2021. 

The Arts Society Chichester Lavant Valley has awarded funds to Tuppenny Barn in West Sussex which supports the community by offering social, educational and horticultural experiences to help improve the mental health of those most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

All donations from the Artvent Calendar will go towards The Arts Society’s grant giving fund, which awards grants to help preserve our artistic heritage, support the skills of artists and makers, and improve access to the arts for all.

Please click here to support projects like this one by making a Donation.



Lovely to see Gillian again - bringing the ancient world to life as she did on The Arts Society's Golden Anniversary tour of the Greek Islands.

June Tue, 14/12/2021 - 09:46 Permalink

So very interesting and lively, thank you!

Irene Tue, 14/12/2021 - 09:43 Permalink

Enthusiastic and informative talk. Great fun. Thank you

Beatrice Tue, 14/12/2021 - 09:41 Permalink

Yo Gillian ! A delightful and original presentation, another gem! Thanks so much!

Angela Brignell Tue, 14/12/2021 - 09:37 Permalink

Interesting fun facts presented in a very engaging way. A great start to the day. Thank you. 😀🎄

Prue Steel Tue, 14/12/2021 - 09:35 Permalink

Thankyou that was wonderful! Such enthusiasm really brought all the slides to life. Merry Christmas to you too.

Heather Tue, 14/12/2021 - 09:33 Permalink

Wonderful to hear a happy message - just what we need in the current climate! Thank-you

Eileen Swift Tue, 14/12/2021 - 09:23 Permalink

Great story telling!

David Taylor Tue, 14/12/2021 - 09:15 Permalink

Fascinating...and informative. A lively and engaging presentation. Many thanks.

Ray Dafter Tue, 14/12/2021 - 08:46 Permalink

What a brilliantly enthusiastic lecturer - loved it! Thank you

Lucy Cooper Tue, 14/12/2021 - 08:42 Permalink