Io, Saturnalia!

Io, Saturnalia! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Was Saturnalia, a celebration of the memory of the Golden Age of Saturn before it lost its place as the first or original Sun of planet Earth, the King of the Gods?

In a poem about a lavish Saturnalia under Domitian, Statius makes it clear that the emperor, like Jupiter, still reigns during the temporary return of Saturn.
King of the Saturnalia | Wikipedia

How old is this period of festival? How significant was it for pagans and the old gods that the Christian religion amalgamated into their own beliefs or celebrations?

Io, Saturnalia

Was Saturnalia to remind people of the reign of Saturn in the Saturn Polar Configuration?

Why were the planets, tiny specks in our skies, so important and worshipped by the ancient peoples?

Saturnalia included:

  • A reversal of roles with slaves being served
  • A cap that could be interpreted as plasma mythology (Great Star symbol, Eyptian White Crown etc)
  • A King of chaos

Io, Saturnalia

Io Saturnalia

The Saturnalia was originally celebrated in Ancient Rome for only a day, but it was so popular it soon it lasted a week, despite Augustus' efforts to reduce it to three days, and Caligula's, to five. Like our Christmas, this important holy day (feriae publicae) was for more than fun and games. Saturnalia was a time to honor the god of sowing, Saturn. But again, like our Christmas, it was also a festival day (dies festus) on which a public banquet was prepared ... The best part of the Saturnalia (for slaves) was the temporary reversal of roles ... Clothing was relaxed and included the peaked woollen cap that symbolized the freed slave, which looks an awful lot like Santa Claus's peaked red hat . A member of the familia (family plus slaves) was appointed Saturnalicius princeps, roughly, Lord of Misrule.
Saturnalia - Celebrate the Saturnalia | About.com

Io, Saturnalia!

In the Roman calendar, the Saturnalia was designated a holy day, or holiday, on which religious rites were performed. Saturn, himself, was identified with Kronos, and sacrificed to according to Greek ritual, with the head uncovered. The Temple of Saturn, the oldest temple recorded by the pontiffs, had been dedicated on the Saturnalia, and the woolen bonds which fettered the feet of the ivory cult statue within were loosened on that day to symbolize the liberation of the god

... Slaves were treated as equals, allowed to wear their masters' clothing, and be waited on at meal time in remembrance of an earlier golden age thought to have been ushered in by the god.
Saturnalia

The traditional greeting at a Saturnalia celebration is, "Io, Saturnalia!", with the "Io" being pronounced as "Yo."
Celebrating Saturnalia | About.com

Saturn was the King?

Imperial sources refer to a Saturnalicius princeps who ruled as master of ceremonies for the proceedings. He was appointed by lot, and has been compared to the medieval Lord of Misrule at the Feast of Fools. His capricious commands, such as 'Sing naked' or 'Throw him into cold water' had to be obeyed by the other guests at the convivium: he creates and (mis)rules a chaotic and absurd world ...

In a poem about a lavish Saturnalia under Domitian, Statius makes it clear that the emperor, like Jupiter, still reigns during the temporary return of Saturn.
King of the Saturnalia | Wikipedia

saturnalia hat cap helmet christmas mythology

We also need to remember that in Roman times December 25th marked the winter solstice (now the 21st) and Saturnalia involved rituals leading up to that date in the calendar as the days shortened and then went into reverse, lengthening. The inference made by most writers is that Saturn had a connection with the Sun and the shortest day of the year. The solstice was seen as a victory by the sun over the forces of darkness - and here is the clue.

One of the most important factors in the Exodus story are the days of darkness and this occurs in other folklore around the world, from Japan to northern Europe. The solstice is almost unnoticeable in some parts of the world so why was a big thing made about it - unless the sun at some stage was seen to be victorious over a period of darkness (days rather than weeks). A transition of the earth through a dense stream of meteoric material might cause such a period of darkness and emerging the other side of the stream of debris could be seen as a victory of the sun over the forces of evil.

Obviously, this would have occurred long before the Romans celebrated Saturnalia which provides us with some idea of how long such traditions may go back into history (and prehistory). The fact that Christmas still has remnants of those traditions goes to show how indelible the original event must have been, leaving an imprint on generations of people that followed.
Roman Santa | Society for Interdisciplinary Studies

Io, Saturnalia!
Parthian Phrygian Cap Helmet

According to some folktales, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto were representative of Air, Water and Death...the three things that time itself cannot kill...and the overthrow of Saturn symbolized the demise of the old culture which worshiped this ancient God. According to Roman mythology, after Saturn was dethroned by his son Jupiter (Zeus), he hid himself (latuit) in the countryside, called Latium in his honour. At the invitation of the god Janus, he reigned, together with his wife, Ops, over Rome's golden ages, bringing prosperity, abundance, and civilization. The Romans nostalgized that legendary state as the Golden Age of Latium. Many of the rites of the Saturnalia were intended to restore that long lost utopia--if only for a short time each year.
Saturnalia - Recalling An Ancient Age - The Carnaval Celebration that became Christmas & New Year'S Eve | Carnaval

Saturnalia Saturn configuration

In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who was said to have reigned over the world in the Golden Age, when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of innocence. The revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable. The Greek equivalent was the Kronia.
Saturnalia | Wikipedia