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The War on SaturnaliaPosted Saturday, December 6, 2008, at 11:29 AM
While recently flipping through an ancient medieval manuscript looking for cool pictures to cut out and decoupage, I ran across an interesting find. It was an even more ancient bit of manuscript, apparently from the second century or so A.D., give or take a decade. Equipped with my classical education from Taylor Elementary in Taylor, Arkansas and my dog-eared copy of Latin for Imbeciles, I worked out the following translation showing it to be an ancient letter to the editor of the Rome Tiber-Picayune.
December 1st, 926 ab urbe condita
To the Editor:
Leaving aside my usual topic of how things were better when Nero was Emperor, I take up stylus and waxed board to write of something of timely interest. This is, of course, the holiday time of year when thoughts turn to festivities, friends and family, to parties, wearing the pileus, and, of course, gift-giving. Who does not love this time of year? But it seems to me that Saturnalia just isn't what it used to be.
There is a group in our community which seems to be growing at an alarming rate, and they have no respect for the long-standing traditions on which our Republic is founded. After 900 years of happily celebrating Saturnalia, we are now suddenly told that the winter holiday is, in fact, really about the birth of their founder. Oh really? What a coincidence! What will they say next? That the celebration of fertility and the coming of Spring also commemorates something about him? His Bar Mitzvah, maybe? It will be interesting to see how they account for all the eggs.
If this goes on, where will we end up? Making shrines out of evergreen trees like those weirdos up in Gaul?
So let's all just remember the true meaning of the Holiday. Saturn is the reason for the Season. And if anybody says, "Merry Christmas" to you, feed him to a lion.
Marcus Gaius Bilious
Owner, Palatine Plumbing & Aqueduct
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