Saturnalia: A Winter Solstice & Yule Market
Saturnalia was an ancient Roman pagan festival that celebrated the god Saturn, at the Temple of Saturn in ancient Rome. This “holiday” began on 17th December and ran through to 23rd December in accordance to the Julian calendar. Much like Kronia, Saturnalia’s Greek equivalent, it was a time of feasts, drinking, merry-making, gift-giving, and parties, just like the tradition we call today, Christmas. Additionally, there were also activities such role reversal (masters would serve their slaves) and the electing of a “King of the Saturnalia” (Saturnalicius princeps). It was called “the best of days”, a time of opposing the regular, symbolical liberation, and overturning the social norms, reflecting the contradictory nature of the god Saturn himself.
As the Roman Empire converted to Christianity somewhere in the 4th Century, many of their pagan traditions were adopted by Christians or influenced Christian celebrations, it is no coincidence that the declared birthday of Sol Invictus (the Roman Sun god) was on the 25th of December.
Likewise, Yule, or Yuletide, originally a Germanic pagan festivity, met the same fate as most pagan traditions, being Christianized as the years went by. The Christmas log cakes, Christmas ham, and caroling are just a few examples of Yule traditions that were later brought into Christmas. Yule is still commonly celebrated by many people; Wiccans often regard this winter solstice celebration as the rebirth of the Horned God.
As the pattern emerges, we can certainly begin to recall many more Christmas activities coming to mind, that bear a strong resemblance to ancient pagan traditions, and not just limited to the ones mentioned here.
Saturnalia: A Winter Solstice & Yule Market opens on the 17th of December and will run through 1st January.
At Sollemne, we enjoy tracing our most commercialized holidays back to its pagan roots, giving light to its origins as well as offering our thanks. With that said, there isn’t a specific theme this time around, all we ask is that you create something that resembles the pagan aspects of our beloved Winter holiday, be it inspired by Yule, Saturnalia, or any other winter solstice celebration. We will still be providing a moodboard in any case, as well as a color scheme, which you can find just below here.
At a cursory glance, the Pinterest board might look a little confusing and irrelevant to each other, however we’d like to stress again that by no means does the board resemble a mandatory theme. The only idea we’d like to bring is a fun twist to the “norms” of Christmas, shining a light on the many ways we can celebrate it, wherein it is possible for everyone to enjoy.
You’ll be required to provide ONE (1) preferably in-season item, which will remain exclusive to the event for its duration, after which you may place it at your store. This item has to be new, not a recolor or a past release. It does not need to be discounted, however, you may discount it if you wish. Past releases are welcome at your booth as long as they fit the theme.
Participation in the Yule Market is completely optional but highly encouraged. We will be assembling an area for items priced at 100L and below to brew the spirit of gift-giving amongst shoppers. These items can be new, and they can also be a special recolor of an existing item or even your exclusive. You may create a specifically Yule-themed item, but this is not necessary.