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Saturnalia Quiz

Flavia's CHRISTMAS QUIZ:
Would it surprise you to learn that many of the customs we observe at Christmas go back to Roman times and have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus? Here is a quiz for you to test your knowledge of the Roman SATURNALIA and its influence on modern Christmas.

1. During the Roman Empire, some celebrated the birth of which famous person on 25 December?
a) Julius Caesar
b) Mithras, the Persian god of light
c) Jesus Christ
d) Asterix

2. Three days before 25 December, what event occurs?
a) Summer Solstice
b) Summer Equinox
c) Winter Solstice
d) Winter Equinox


3. Many scholars believe Jesus was actually born in:
a) late December, of course!
b) late September/early October
c) mid January
d) Philadelphia

4. The Romans celebrated a mid-winter festival called the Saturnalia. It was named after:
a) The planet Saturn
b) The god Saturn
c) Saturday
d) Satyrs

5. In the first century AD how many days did the Romans set aside to celebrate the Saturnalia?

a) one
b) five
c) twelve
d) thirty


6. The Romans gave gifts on the Saturnalia. Which of the following did they NOT give?
a) chocolate
b) silver objects
c) preserved fruit
d) small clay or wooden figures

5. The mottoes and riddles in Christmas crackers might well go back to the Roman practice of
a) hiring comic actors to deliver gifts 
b) writing a two-line epigram to accompany a Saturnalia gift
c) Roman singing telegrams (in dactylic pentameter)
d) memorizing and reciting lines from Virgil's Aeneid as a Saturnalia party trick

6. Which ONE of the following Christmas customs did NOT orignate in the Saturnalia:
a) feasting
b) drinking

c) putting up lights
d) putting up greenery
e) Santa and his reindeer
f) giving gifts
g) taking time off work

7. In first century Rome, which illegal practice was permitted during the Saturnalia?
a) murder
b) theft
c) witchcraft
d) gambling

8. The paper crown in our Christmas cracker reminds us of the Roman custom of:
a) choosing a 'King' of the Saturnalia
b) Caesar legalizing festivities
c) the Etruscan king Tarquin
d) It has nothing to do with any Roman custom

9.  Santa's red conical hat might well be traced back to hats worn during Saturnalia by:
a) Trojans
b) Greeks
c) Persians
d) Smurfs
e) freedmen

10. During Saturnalia, Romans festooned their houses with many green plants, but probably NOT:
a) mistletoe
b) pine boughs
c) wreaths
d) garlands
e) seaweed

11. Here are some more Christmas customs which might go back to the Saturnalia. Which one is bogus?
a) mulled wine
b) Christmas stockings
c) singing songs
d) pantomime

12. Which of the following foods was certainly NOT part of the Saturnalia feast?
a) roast pork
b) honey-glazed ham
c) turkey and mashed potato
d) roast goose

 



The Answers!
1. During the Roman Empire, some celebrated the birth of which famous person on 25 December?
b) Mithras, the Persian god of light

2. Three days before 25 December, what event occurs?
c) Winter Solstice


3. Many scholars believe Jesus was actually born in:
b) late September/early October

4. The Romans celebrated a mid-winter festival called the Saturnalia. It was named after:
b) The god Saturn

5. In the first century AD how many days did the Romans set aside to celebrate the Saturnalia?

b) five


6. The Romans gave gifts on the Saturnalia. Which of the following did they NOT give?
a) chocolate

5. The mottoes and riddles in Christmas crackers might well go back to the Roman practice of
b) writing a two-line epigram to accompany a Saturnalia gift

6. Which ONE of the following Christmas customs did NOT orignate in the Saturnalia:

e) Santa and his reindeer

7. In first century Rome, which illegal practice was permitted during the Saturnalia?
d) gambling

8. The paper crown in our Christmas cracker reminds us of the Roman custom of:
a) choosing a 'King' of the Saturnalia


9.  Santa's red conical hat might well be traced back to hats worn during Saturnalia by:
e) freedmen


10. During Saturnalia, Romans festooned their houses with many green plants, but probably NOT:
e) seaweed

11. Here are some more Christmas customs which might go back to the Saturnalia. Which one is bogus?
b) Christmas stockings

12. Which of the following foods was certainly NOT part of the Saturnalia feast?
c) turkey and mashed potato

 


 

littleFlaviaSaturnalia.jpg

Flavia at Saturnalia