Saturnalia and National Maple Syrup Day

Saturnalia and National Maple Syrup Day

Today we look at one of the precursors of our Christmas celebration and a wonderful sweet treat from the woods.

Saturnalia

Saturnalia

Escultura Saturnalia de Ernesto Biondi” by Taken by the uploader, w:es:Usuario:Roberto Fiadone – Taken by the uploader, w:es:Usuario:Roberto Fiadone. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

 Saturnalia was a festival of the Roman Empire that occurred between December 17th and 23rd. There were sacrifices to Saturn, public banquets, gift-giving and widespread partying in a carnival atmosphere. Gambling was permitted and role-reversal in which slaves were served by their masters.

On December 19th, Sigillaria, gifts were exchanged. These weren’t meant to be extravagant gifts. They were seasonal trinkets, figurines, candles or gag gifts. The triviality of the gift was meant to inversely represent the value of the friendship of the person to whom it was given. However, then as now, there were shopaholics who just couldn’t help overspending at the holidays. Some gifts could be as extravagant as items made of gold and jewels or they could give slaves or exotic animals.

Just goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same. People have always and will always enjoy a good holiday wingding.

National Maple Syrup Day

 Even though the sap isn’t properly flowing until late February, December 17th has been designated as National Maple Syrup Day by parties unknown. Even so, this uniquely North American treat can be enjoyed all year round. The sap of maple trees was boiled to a thick syrup by the Native Americans. Straight from the tree, it’s a more free-flowing liquid that can be chilled and drunk as a sweet beverage. However, as a syrup it is particularly good on pancakes or heated up and drizzled over vanilla ice cream! The sugar of maple sap also renders a wonderful sugar that can be made into delicious candies. Click here to get your loved ones a box of maple sugar candy!  Maple Syrup

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