Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturnalia

No terrible pranks were played on us yesterday, April Fool's Day, and even Fool's Fest, a wild drinking party, was a flop. Apparently, via Facebook, local college students had invited college students from all over to come to Normal (what an exciting location!) to party this weekend. Local university and town officials were proactive, increasing security, closing liquor stores early, and reminding tenants of fines for big, loud parties, and, poof, not much happened.

That is, there was no Saturnalia.  Saturnalia was a feasting, gift-giving, drinking party and pagan holiday that in some ways resembles Christmas, falling in mid-winter, the timing noted by scholars and theologians. And while it is April, we do have winter temperatures at the moment, and we did have hail yesterday, a fine April Fool's joke on all of us hoping for spring.

But I do love this detail of Saturnalia:

"Saturnalia involved the conventional sacrifices, a couch (lectisternium) set out in front of the temple of Saturn and the untying of the ropes that bound the statue of Saturn during the rest of the year."


I don't love the sacrifices. I do love the couch coincidence.  As this is the time of year when couches and armchairs start to emerge on front porches and lawns, to ease the drinking parties of students. Except for when there are ordinances against that. I wonder if the council debates do include references to the ancient Roman rites?


Anyhoo, the sun is up, the sky is blue...Ah! Today's imaginary playlist must include "Dear Prudence" by the Beatles!


Let us go now and celebrate the birthdays of Hans Christian Andersen and Casanova.  Let us be slatternly if we wish. And/or let us do our laundry, beat our rugs, clear our gardens.


And, if we are poets, write our poem-a-day.

9 comments:

ron hardy said...

In this here town May Day is the day the police always had their hands full in past years. Now furniture is banned from porches in the university district. Couches and chairs went up in smoke on the street creating confrontation. Sacrifice was widespread. Now I see the connection Kathleen.

Kathleen said...

Yup. Locally, people don't like the look of inside furniture outdoors, and the noise of the parties. But in some areas, sadly, there have been couch fires, death. So, sometimes it is a funny issue. Sometimes a terribly sad and serious one, alas.

ted tingley said...

Ah! My increased understanding enhances my action. Someone else in our home does the laundry,
beats the rug and clears the garden. I set on the front porch swing and watch the police go by.

Kathleen said...

Ted, you are too, too funny! And I am picturing you on the porch right now!

Sandy Longhorn said...

I love the idea that the statue was bound in ropes, only to be loosed at this one time of the year. Wow.

It's quite a slatternly day here at the desk of the Kangaroo, but much needed. There's laundry going and a Cubs game about to start. Ah, perfection!

Kathleen said...

I made chocolate chip pancakes and later I will tenderize some pork.

Collagemama said...

Ah, the ceremonial tenderizing of the pork, and the burnt offering of the cigarette-marred couch just off campus! The playing of the "White Album". Spring must be in the air. Stupid student tricks are peaking. I'm so grateful my sons made it through that self-destructive stage. Looking back at my college self, I'm pretty lucky, too.

seana said...

Even though I am hardly a student anymore, I do dislike the regulation of our lives down to whether we can drag furniture outside. Even in eco-friendly Santa Cruz, there are places that crack down if you happen to use a clothesline.

We had a mini spell of absolutely glorious weather over the week, and rode the bus home and saw some people, probably students sitting out on their very tiny porch. Not drinking or smoking or toking, just sitting. It looked grand. Stoop sitting is what makes neighbors.

Are you doing your poem a day, Kathleen? I'm not a poet, but I'm following Robert Brewer's poem a day prompts, and did at least think of an idea for one yesterday...

Google had some good pranks yesterday. One was their announcement that they were launching a beta mode of a program where you no longer had to type but could communicate with your computer through body movements, and the other being that they announced, "Now hiring autocompleters!" in their search field."

Sometimes I worry about Google taking over the world, but I gotta admit that they're clever.

Kathleen said...

I saw the first Google prank and, because I am so technologically challenged, thought it was real and yet another thing I wouldn't ever be able to master!

Yes, Seana, I am doing a poem a day! I don't post them here because 1) aauughh! 2) if I want to publish them later, it's good not to have them up already even though 3) they would be revised by then because of #1 (aauughh)!!

Usually, I do get some decent poems eventually from the 30 April drafts. Sigh....