Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival to honor the god Saturn, held on December 17th. Changes to the Roman calendar moved Saturnalia to December 25th, and it is reasonable to argue that the date was appropriated by Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn and a public banquet, followed by gift-giving, partying, and an atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms. Gambling was allowed and masters served their slaves. The poet Catullus called it, “the best of days”.
In Saturnalia I wanted to examine the religious aspect of the holiday, the first part depicting the thoughts of the viewers at the ceremony during the sacrifice, and the second part examining the food at the banquet.
Saturnalia was written for chorus and string orchestra.