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The ancient Saturnalia festival of Rome honored Saturn (a major god presiding over agriculture and the harvest time). Salsola's version of Saturnalia has direct throwbacks to this predecessor, but has distinctive cultural differences in both practice and meaning.

Salsola's Saturnalia is celebrated during the last week of December. Though the weather may be frightful when the feast is celebrated, it is intended to bring joy to Salsola with the arrival and celebration of true northern winter. Additionally, the feast's ritualistic aspects are intended to provide a fruitful harvest season for Salsola, along with general luck and bounty throughout the following year.

Participation in Saturnalia rituals are entirely voluntary -- no canine is required to engage in any part of the festival, as is related to Salsola’s relaxed views on religious activities.



Saturnalia Eve is celebrated with a sacrifice. The canine sacrifice must be a canine of virile age -- e.g., not an old man and not a young boy; the sacrifice must be of reproducing age and an adult. The blót ritual is performed in the usual public manner at the Stone Ship. In the event that a Luperci sacrifice is lacking, the ritual leader can make do with a livestock or prey animal of superior stock.

One important difference in the Saturnalia sacrifice is the importance of spilling life's blood over bare soil. The sacrifice's throat is generally slit, and they are bent forward over a patch of earth. Unlike other sacrifices, this body is later buried in the bog and marsh of Salsola -- given “back” to the land.


Saturnalia often begins with the ritual of gift-gifting. Though the gifts may be of a lavish nature, the object of Saturnalia gift-giving is to deliver the present anonymously. Various methods may be employed for this end -- some canines may simply give their gifts as "the gift of a friend," refusing to verbally acknowledge themselves as the giver; other canines simply drop the gift on a doorstep and scurry away. The method of delivery is up to the individual, but the intent is to remain anonymous and secretive!

Slave Gifts

Saturnalia often coincides with slaves receiving gifts: members of the pack may feel more comfortable giving anonymously to a slave. Slave gifts are intended to thank the slave for their service to the pack, and may be of a practical nature (e.g., giving a carpentry-inclined slave some tools) or of a more generous nature (e.g., giving a slave some small new freedom). As a slave is not permitted by Salsolan culture to own any belongings itself, gifts given to a slave at Saturnalia are often discreet and quickly hidden away by the slave in question.


The Saturnalia banquet, while held in the same hall as the Last Supper, differs greatly from the "usual" celebration of Salsola. Displays of behavior normally unacceptable in public -- overeating, sloppiness, and drunkenness -- are not only accepted but encouraged during the Saturnalia banquet, which is a wild and free-spirited event. Salsolans are encouraged to have fun and revel in their membership within a strong, enviable pack.

Canines of Salsola become more lax in their strict hierarchy roles during Saturnalia -- dominance and submission are minimized, and the canines feast together as friends and Family, entirely forgoing any discussion of business-related topics. Slaves are permitted to dine with the ranked members of Salsola, an event occurring only once a year.

Serious offenses committed during the festival are still treated as such -- e.g., if someone attempted assassination of The Boss, the feast would halt, the killer would be strung up to die, and then the revelry would continue.

Lord of Discord

The Lord of Discord is chosen from amongst the banquet's attendees by the Mafiosi. This canine is responsible for shouting absurd commands during the festival: e.g., instructing a canine to chug a cup of wine, or having a group of Salsolans throw another member into water. The role of the Lord of Discord is essential to the festivities, giving them an air of fun-driven chaos.

Banquet Slaves

While slaves are permitted to dine with their masters, they are still responsible for the food preparation, and must serve their master's needs during the feast. Unruliness from slaves during the feast is moderate, at best -- while a slave may joke more openly with his or her master, outright defiance and refusal of duties is still a terrible offense even during Saturnalia and can result in serious punishment.


The next day, the usual Salsolan roles resume, and anyone unable to leave festival mode behind is promptly snapped out of their revelry. Though Salsolans are encouraged to take everything said and done during the festival lightly, serious complaints may be brought to the Capo ranks over festival behavior. More often than not, though, it is simply a case of: What happens during Saturnalia, STAYS during Saturnalia!