"On the seventeenth day of December, the Festival of Saturn began and lasted for a week."

Public DomainSaturn - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Saturnalia was held in honour of Saturn, a Roman god of agriculture and harvest. The festival, celebrated in memory of the mythological Golden Age when Saturn once ruled over man, involved public rites and private customs, eating, drinking and giving presents, and general merriment. Slaves were supposed to enjoy a certain level of equality with their masters during the holiday and were allowed to sit at a banquet (often prepared by the slaves themselves – religious good spirit only went so far!)