My very heraldic Christmas and Io Saturnalia!

My lord had to go do Navy things for a few months, so when I should have been studying for school, I sewed things.

I also found out that Santa Claus can read heraldry! You see, we stayed home for the holidays this year when both of us usually travel, sometimes in opposite directions to keep both families happy, so we had no decorations. None. Zip. So  I was shopping for the necessary trimmings, and found that they’re all way too expensive and I didn’t like them all anyway. So I went to Joann’s, dropped $60 in supplies, and went to work.

Here’s our heraldically (is word?) influenced tree skirt, hand appliqued, lined in horrible plaid with fringy fringe that was more of a pain in the butt than it probably should have been:

treeskirt

And our heraldically correct stockings, you know, instead of writing our names in puffy paint:

stockings

But modern Christmas is not terribly period ,but it sure is pretty. So, I decided to try Saturnalia from the 17th-23rd of December for the first time this year, and we definitely had fun! We set up a household altar with Roman goodies: an amphora, a cup of wine and a cup of olive oil, lamps, and I had a tea light for each night of the festival (how, uh, syncretic of me.) Each day the lord and I would make an “offering” to Saturn in the ways of whatever we had around. This varied from my actual Roman artifact rings, to a cheap rhinestone ring, amber necklace, chunk of shortbread, coffee, and Geoffrey’s Dungeons and Dragons Elementals. I am not even kidding.

saturn1
The First Day of Saturnalia.
saturn2
The star lamp would have been very appealing to the Romans, who were fond of gilding all the things with gold suns and stars for the festival. I kept it lit the entire 7 days.
saturn4
The last night of the festival with all the goodies we offered! Rainbow Brite pillowcase from the 80s and chopsticks my husband brought me home from Guam. Why not?! I was burning some extra candles since we weren’t home for a couple of nights.
saturn3
The magnet on my car. Complete with some New Hampshire December ice and grime.

It was all in the spirit of the season, and trying to feel as the Romans would have felt. Every holiday in December has one thing in common: The solstice and the return of light at the darkest part of the year. So I’m a big fan of setting things on fire or putting a mere 1500 lights on my balcony and 400 lights on my tree.

flamingo
And lawn flamingos. Nothing screams winter like pink plastic.

Most of all, we had FUN. I hope everyone else had fun with the holidays this week, also!

Felicem Dies Natalis Sol Invicti!
Καλά Χριστούγεννα!
Or as my friends say, “Happy Lights!”

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, and I’ll catch you all on the flip side with some neat info on Byzantine outerwear, and the upcoming garb challenge at Birka!

5 thoughts on “My very heraldic Christmas and Io Saturnalia!

  1. Helene Dalassenos

    Now I wonder how a Roman woman on the edges of the Empire, in Caesaria in Cappodocia, would have incorporated local traditions regarding the changing of the seasons into her household. Because I have always felt that humans have a driving need to celebrate the return of the light, be it the Light of Christ or the light of the sun.

  2. Helene Dalassenos

    Hrm. Candlemas is coming up and our event is German. This could be fun! Or, I could get run out of my own court on a rail. Probably not though, because my barony is awesome.

    But, now I’m wondering how Catholic Germans celebrated church feasts while traveling. They HAD to have priests, and if the entire company was stopping for rest, for a couple DAYS, would they have brought out all the bells and whistles? Hmmmmmmmm.

    I wonder if folks would blink if I set up our candlestand (again) with the (very Spanish) Theotokos, and left candles for those who wanted to offer a prayer to her.

    DAMN YOU.

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