On December 18, mere days before the winter solstice on December 21 (the shortest day of the year), the Delbarton Classics Club hosted its annual Saturnalia party in a suitably classic -- albeit recently renovated -- school classroom in Old Main. This Roman solstice-time holiday honors Saturn, an early Italian agricultural god, and the event traditionally featured feasting, games, gift-giving...and even normally outlawed gambling. Count us in!
Saturn was the first god of the Capitol, otherwise known as Saturnius Mons, and his reign was depicted as a Golden Age of plenty and peace (both the planet Saturn and Saturday are named after the god). Typically, the Saturnalia celebration began with a sacrifice in the Roman Forum's Temple of Saturn, followed by a public banquet, gifts, parties, and a carnival atmosphere.
To get Delbarton's Saturnalia party started, Classics Club moderator Dr. Rachel Carlson, assisted by several students and fellow Classics faculty member Dr. Theresa O'Byrne, organizing games of chance that included a heated game of Scrabble (Latin words only, please). Trey Donovan '19 began the festivities by writing "Io Saturnalia!" on the white board: loose translation: Yo, Saturnalia!
This is the fourth year that the Club has hosted a well-attended Saturnalia party where Latin scholars with laurel wreathes (or were they ivy?) from grades 7 to 12 feasted on cookies, chips and candy as any good Roman plebian would. Members also drew lots to win prize-filled lunch bags that had been decorated with Roman-esque images by 8th grade Latin students. In a corner, several boys quietly assembled a gingerbread house, symbolizing the forward-thinking nature of a Club not afraid to break with tradition (after all, there were no M&MS in Rome, not even the plain ones). The first name drawn was declared emperor for the afternoon, and it was his job to select the names of prize winners. This year's king for a day was 8th grader Lance Vanvolkenburgh '23 who played the role with suitable dignity and distinction.
Prizes ranged from a small yet highly collectible LEGO Caesar figure (want one) and chocolates to...um...a small apple, but undoubtably an extremely tasty one. While there was Roman centurion paraphernalia in evidence, no sword fights or animal sacrifices took place and a very good time was had by all at this annual holiday event.
Macte hac Gloria, Classics Club. Congratulations for this much-appreciated celebratory victory!
Enjoy these Saturnalia 2018 photos...