Saturnalia Roman Festival
The winter solstice celebration of Saturnalia, once a festive observance throughout the Roman Empire, was eventually subsumed by the celebration of Christmas. In the small Welsh village of Llanwrtyd Wells, located in an area that still features Roman structures and artifacts, residents devote a weekend to this long-forgotten holiday honoring the god Saturn.
Llanwrtyd Wells, which prides itself as the “wacky festival capital of the world,” takes a tongue-in cheek approach to the observance,which is organized to draw tourists as well as relive Roman culture. The festival’s gladiator chariot race, for example, accompanies a winter beer festival and features mountain bikes towing barrels instead of proper horse-drawn chariots.
This event and others attract attendees dressed in the requisite togas and laurel hats. Festival goers remain in costume forthe Saturnalia Ramble, a marked walk through the Welsh countryside along old Roman roads. To enhance the celebration,local pubs and restaurants offer Roman-themed food.
Green Events Ltd.
Tourist Information Centre