Chester Saturnalia

Where: Chester City - starting at Grosvenor Museum, Grosvenor Street
When: Thursday mid-month
Time: 6.15 - 8pm


Saturnalia was a popular Roman midwinter festival celebrating the god Saturn, which lasted for several days. Saturn was the god of agriculture and worship of him hopefully encouraged prosperity to come. It was a time to eat,drink and be merry and there was a tradition of tomfoolery and role reversal, where masters became servants and vice versa in a  similar way to the Lord of Misrule of later Christmas celebrations. As Chester was a major Roman centre in the UK and the residents are proud of their heritage, it is celebrated here with a torch-lit parade of Roman Centurions to the beat of a drum with dancers and entertainers as well as rites to Saturn himself.

Helpful Hints

If you have mobility problems, be aware that the parade moves quite fast so you might be better going to one of the areas where the play and rites are performed – in 2010 these were at  Eastgate, by the Tourist Information Centre on Northgate Street and by the skating rink at the Castle Car Park. The Tourist Information Centre were very clued up about this event and I was even given a map with all the relevant places marked!

It’s organised by local specialists Roman Tours (see link below for their website, which also features other events they’re involved in).

In 2018 Saturnalia will be celebrated on Thursday December 20th (to be confirmed).

To find out more click here :

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