Hi all and happy holidays!
I write sexy, romantic novels for Kensington Books about a family of alpha male satyrs—the carnal followers of the Roman god of wine, Bacchus. My novels are set in 1800s Italy. In the course of writing them, I’ve done a lot of reading about 19th century Tuscany and Rome as well as ancient Greco-Roman settings, festivals, and celebrations.
Some scholars believe that many of our ways of celebrating the Christmas holiday are grounded in past historical celebrations. For instance, the ancient Roman celebration of Saturnalia. In Greco-Roman mythology, Saturn was the king of the twelve Titans. He was the father of some of the major Olympic gods and goddesses, including Jupiter (aka Zeus in Greek mythology). Jupiter in turn was the father of Bacchus.
Saturn was also the god of agriculture. And Saturnalia, like Christmas, was celebrated in mid to late December—the time of the winter solstice when the shortest, darkest day of the year occurs around December 22nd. Romans were happily aware that the coming of this solstice meant that the dark days of winter would soon be behind them. Spring would soon arrive and their farms and orchards would again be bursting with life. What a relief!
They celebrated Saturnalia by decorating their homes with evergreen garlands and boughs. They set lit candles in trees.
The selfless act of giving a gift during Saturnalia was thought to bring the giver good luck. Ancient Romans visited the homes of their friends for feasting and merriment. There was even a brisk business at their holiday marketplace. Sound familiar?
As I celebrate the holidays this year, I’m following some of these ancient traditions and some traditions that have developed in my own family over the years. And I’m loving every minute of it. These heart-warming traditions that I associate with Christmas are fun and full of happy childhood memories for me.
For instance, we go caroling with friends the weekend before Christmas. And on Christmas Eve we drive around looking at holiday decorations, weather permitting, and we then open one gift. One of my own personal holiday traditions is that I love snuggling in to read a good book and get away from all the hustle and bustle sometimes as well. What are some of your special traditions and happy holiday memories?
This holiday season, I wish you happy, safe, healthy days full of family, friends, and good cheer!
Enter to Win!
Many thanks to Annette of RomFan Reviews for hosting this post as part of her December Holiday Blog Hop! I'm giving away one autographed copy of Bastian, The Lords of Satyr plus an autographed cover flat of my 2012 release, Sevin, The Lords of Satyr to one winner. Please drop a comment on my blog to enter. I'd also appreciate a follow or a Like on FaceBook. Winner will be posted on my blog on or before January 1st. Thanks!
~ Elizabeth Amber