Annual Saturnalia Festival embraces Latin community


Courtesy of August Zeidman

Sophomore Eloise Griffin and freshman Sam Nachimsan showcase their Saturnalia artwork at school event.

August Zeidman, Staff Writer

This month, Schreiber’s Latin students of all four grades spent several days preparing for an evening celebrating the ancient Roman holiday of Saturnalia, starting on Dec. 17 to Dec. 23. With its roots in the early history of the grand state, this festival to Saturn celebrates the end of harvest, fertility, and general goodwill. 

While some of the more traditional festivities were passed up, such as processing with a statue filled with olive oil and copious amounts of wine, many students claimed to have enjoyed Schreiber’s own local and adapted traditions. The big piece that all classes have to prepare is the themed mural. 

This year, the theme was Marvel superheroes, where each class picked one superhero and matched it with a Roman god. They put in immense effort creating artful renditions where the gods and heroes were morphed. Deadpool transformed into Mars, Vulcan into Iron Man, Black Panther into Zeus, and Black Widow into Minerva. This activity served as a little break from the often tiring work of studying the ancient language.

“Saturnalia is always the best time of the year for Latin students,” said junior Katie Winter.  “It is a creative way to show off our Latin doctrina and take time to have an alternative learning experience. Saturnalia also serves as an event to bond and talk to the other Latin students in the school.”  

Once they arrived at the cafeteria on the evening of Dec. 13, students donned their bed sheet togas and settled into their seats. The event was complete with music, dancing, and snacks. First, the posters were judged by a panel, which included Dr. Louise Lindemann, Ms. Elizabeth Griffin, Dr. Ira Pernick, and Dr. Julie Torres. Eventually the panel arrived at the decision that the seniors’ poster, depicting Vulcan and Iron Man, had won.

Soon after, the real games began, starting with the traditional “chariot race,” more commonly known as the wheelbarrow, where one student held the ankles of another while the one in front crawled forward on their hands. This contest was also won by the seniors, with the tag team of Christopher Ricciardi and August Zeidman taking first place.

After this had been cleared up, students began filing up to take some of the not-quite Roman, but definitely Italian dinner of pizza, where the boxes were piled high and the plates even higher. Students ate many slices, and many attested to thoroughly enjoying the meal. In fact, pizza actually played prominently in the next game: the Toga Cat Walk. In this game, students had an opportunity to flaunt their Roman style in front of judges. Senior Jolie Bercow won first prize with her partnered walk between herself and four slices of pizza.

Other games ensued, including musical chairs and the limbo, where students experienced some friendly competition together. At the end of the night, students helped stack chairs and throw away trash.

“This was definitely the most fun I’ve had at Saturnalia. It was just a really fun time with so many friends. I may not be taking Latin anymore, but its so nice to still feel included as part of the family. It was almost bittersweet, this being the last Schreiber Saturnalia I’ll be going to, but I sure am glad it was this one,” said senior Julia Russo.

Though one class of students has now completed their rounds at these festivities, the path has been paved for future freshmen to experience for the first time the good times that come with Schreiber Saturnalia.