The history of Christmas Part 1: The Roman Saturnalia festival

I thought I’d share a few history facts about Christmas in lead up to the big day this week …

Most people know that the Christian Christmas celebration of Christ’s birth aligns purposefully with the old pagan winter solstice festival recognising the shortest day of the year in the United Kingdom. If you don’t know, though, the pagan period of feasting and celebration was rebranded by the early church because people were unlikely to welcome being told to stop the pattern of celebrating at this time of year.

Less people know about the Roman festival that also occurred in December and also influenced our experience of Christmas today. The Roman festival of Saturnalia was on December 17 of the Julian Calendar, not the Georgian Calendar that we use to count years today. This festival was brought to Britain in 43BC when the Romans invaded, and as Roman life became the way of British life over the years, so their traditions and deities merged with the pagan deities already celebrated.

Saturnalia celebrated the Roman deity Saturn. As we all know, the Romans knew how to throw a party. In towns Saturnalia celebrations began with a sacrifice in the Forum, an area for gathering that was the heart of the Roman town. The day would include feasting and even gift-giving, long parties, games, gambling and a carnival atmosphere. This would have merged with pagan celebrations in British traditions and formed the habits of celebration that went on to be adopted by the Christian church.

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So many books to be won in the 12 days of Christmas

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I am doing something a little different on this blog this morning. To celebrate the first of December, I thought I’d kick off Christmas with a huge celebration. Look at all the books you can win below in this massive giveaway. That’s a huge prize behind the first window of your advent calendar and there’s twelve days to try and win!

Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Tour with Jane Lark.

After signing with publisher Harper Impulse, Jane, author of the smash-hit Marlow Intrigues series, has decided to end 2013 with a bang! She’s gathered together some of the industry’s best authors to create one enormous Christmas giveaway.

The huge prize is made up of more than 30 books, a combination of signed paperbacks and eBooks, and two gorgeous book bags. It’s the perfect early Christmas present for any bookworm and all you’ve got to do to win is feast your eyes on the details below and enter via the Rafflecopter . . .

To kick off the prizes, Jane is giving away copies of her much loved The Illicit Love of a Courtesan and its highly anticipated follow-up The Passionate Love of a Rake

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Jane’s books have been a huge hit with fans, leading to an ever-increasing fan base and comments such as:

Jane Lark has an amazing talent to draw the reader in from the first page onwards.”

– CosmoChickLitan

And to celebrate her upcoming December release of NA novel I Found You, you could also win a unique rucksack.

The book is already causing excitement among readers and looks set to be the must-read NA of 2014.

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But that’s not all folks! As if Jane’s books weren’t enough, check out the other amazing books included in the prize pot, you’re sure to find one or two of your fav authors getting involved . . .

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Win! Win! Win!

Entry to Jane Lark’s 12 Days of Christmas giveaway extravaganza is easy, just follow the authors on Facebook or Twitter, plus maybe give the comp a shout-out tweet (or two) all via the Rafflecopter below and you’re golden. But don’t forget to keep your fingers crossed too!

Rafflecopter Link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please take a moment to read through the giveaway terms and conditions: This is an international giveaway. Signed paperbacks are to be sent from the authors themselves. Jane Lark, BestChickLit and/or any authors involved accept no responsibility for delivery failures. The winner must be open to accepting eBooks in any format i.e. Kindle copies and via iTunes voucher, from different sources. In the event of .mobi copies, the winner must have an Amazon Kindle account and be prepared to add selected addresses as approved emails on their Personal Document settings. Some of the books involved in the giveaway contain adult and sexual content and this should be taken into consideration before reading. Jane Lark, BestChickLit, Harper Impulse and any of the participating authors are free to amend any of the giveaway details at any time.

Good luck!

Rafflecopter Link: a Rafflecopter giveaway