Wheel of the year
Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the deity Saturn held on December 17 of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through December 23. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms : gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves . [ 1 ] The poet Catullus called it "the best of days." [ 2 ] In Roman mythology , Saturn was an agricultural deity who reigned over the world in the Golden Age , when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of social egalitarianism . The revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable.
The date varies from December 20 to December 23 depending on the year in the Gregorian calendar.
Yule or Yuletide ("Yule time") is a religious festival observed by the Northern European peoples, later being absorbed into and equated with the Christian festival of Christmas . The earliest references to Yule are by way of indigenous Germanic month names ( Ærra Jéola (Before Yule) or Jiuli and Æftera Jéola (After Yule). Scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt , the god Odin and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Modranicht .