Latin students seize the night at annual Saturnalia

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Julia Gurlitz

The Latin Poetry Honors class painted the villains from Hercules for the Saturnalia poster contest.

Rebecca Muratore, News Editor

On Dec. 8, Latin students gathered to celebrate Saturnalia, an ancient Roman festival.  Saturnalia was traditionally celebrated in ancient Rome to honor the god Saturn and took place for seven days during the month of December.  Ancient Romans made sacrifices to the Temple of Saturn. Afterwards, they would gather to have a public banquet, give gifts, and celebrate in a variety of ways.  For those taking Latin at Schreiber, it has become a tradition to celebrate the festival every December with updated activities and traditions.

We celebrate it like the Romans did,” said Latin teacher Ms. Elizabeth Griffin.  “It was an annual harvest celebration.”

Saturnalia took place in the cafeteria. To get in the spirit of the ancient festival, students arrived wearing homemade togas, made out of bed sheets.  Dr. Louise Lindemann took charge of tying all of the togas for the students.  During the celebration, new twists on ancient traditions, like chariot racing, took place in the form of more modern activities, like wheelbarrow racing.

“I found it especially funny when I did the wheelbarrow race with another freshman, and we both fell to the ground,” said freshman Ashley O’Neil.

In addition, students participated in limbo competitions, musical chairs, and a toga catwalk, during which the students showed off their homemade togas.

Juniors Shiraz Johnson and Julia Gurlitz, and sophomore Jolie Bercow, were the three champions of the toga catwalk.  Gurlitz was also the winner of musical chairs, while sophomores August Zeidman and Lucas Romanski won the wheelbarrow race. Zeidman was also victorious at the limbo competition, narrowly beating out his classmates in a tight competition.

Preparation for Saturnalia began months in advance.  On Tuesday mornings, students gathered at Latin Club to discuss possible themes for the event, as well as how to organize the activities.  This year, the theme of the event was Disney villians.  Each grade of Latin students designed posters in their classes relating to that theme, and the winning poster was voted upon during Saturnalia.  Assistant Principal Ms. Julie Torres and LOTE Department Chair Ms. Carol Ferrante were involved in the decision.

“Making the poster is always my favorite part since it gives me the opportunity to channel my artistic skills during class,” said senior Anna Cohen. I think what made this one so great was the opportunity to work on it with my talented friends.”

The freshmen created a poster depicting Scar from The Lion King, the sophomores depicted Captain Hook, from Peter Pan, the juniors depicted characters from Hercules, such as Hades, the Fates, Pain, and Panic, and the seniors depicted Maleficent, from Sleeping Beauty.

“I loved working on the posters in class and coming together as a class to paint, which isn’t something a lot of other classes get to do,” said junior Julia Gurlitz.

The seniors ended up winning the poster competition, and the juniors were the runners-up.  The senior poster can now be found hanging up in room A2, while the junior poster is displayed in the LOTE hallway.

“The group of seniors in Latin have been together for so long, and winning the poster contest was definitely awesome and even more unifying,” said senior and Vice President of Latin Club Krissy McCann.

The seniors also put together a Spotify playlist consisting of popular Disney songs and throwback tunes to play during Saturnalia. However, due to technical difficulties, the music was only able to play during the last half hour of the event.

Amidst all of the activities and excitement, students ate White Castle takeout, another Saturnalia tradition at Schreiber, along with pizza.  The freshmen all brought desserts to contribute to the feast as well, and sophomores and upperclassmn were required to bring 10 dollars to Saturnalia in order to pay for the food.

Latin students look forward to Saturnalia every school year, as it provides them with an opportunity to come to together as a small community and have fun.

Saturalia is one of my favorite events of the school year,” said junior Shiraz Johnson. “Even though it may sound boring, it’s extremely fun, and I love to be able to wear a toga and not feel judged for it.”