top of page

Festival Of Saturnalia

Festival Of Saturnalia

Various events from the 10th December - 17th December 2022

Saturnalia was possibly the most popular Roman festival and is most closely associated with Christmas and merrymaking. The word ‘Saturnalia’ means ‘an occasion of wild revelry or indulgence’, so what better way to end a year of celebration than a knees up for Gilsland Village.

We are planning a range of activities suitable for everyone to get involved in.



Roman Feast - Festival of Saturnalia 

Gilsland Village Hall 

Saturday 17th December Event starts 7.30pm

Tickets: FREE but booking essential

Come and enjoy a Roman feast with fun, games and entertainment celebrating the Festival of Saturnalia. Be entertained by the Lord Of Misrule and other Roman characters performed by members of the community who will guide you through the feast. Enjoy a Roman banquet, made by chef Lucy Reid and we are encouraging people to make a side dish to contribute to a community feast. Bring your own bottle. 

VERY IMPORTANT - It is a 2 stage booking process.

2. Please book a ticket using the Register Now button

2. Complete the Dietary Requirements Form. You will find a link on the Register Now page.

Suggested Roman Side Dishes

Click the clink below to download the recipes

Roman Feast Side Dishes
Download PDF • 3.96MB

The activity has been supported by Hadrian’s Wall 1900 Community Grants, made possible with National Lottery Heritage Fund, Gilsland Village Hall, Thirlwall Parish Council, Upper Denton Parish Council.



Make a Roman lamp with Annabel Talbot

Saturday 26th November 10 - 3pm

Gilsland Village Hall

Join ceramicist Annabel Talbot in making a clay Roman lamp similar to those made during the 1st and 2nd centuries of the Roman empire. Annabel will fire the lamps in her kiln and the lamps will return to be used within Lucerna Light Installation at Green Croft. The clay lamps will be embedded within the sand floor of The Threshing Barn in the shape of the astrological symbol of Saturn representing an ancient scythe reflecting the Satrun’s role as the God of Agriculture.

This is a FREE drop in workshop but please register your intent to come.


Lucerna - Light Installation

The Threshing Barn, Green Croft On The Wall 

Saturday 10th - Sunday 11th December 11.00 - 4.00pm

Public Viewing with pop up cafe

Come and see the lamps made by the community in The Threshing Barn, Green Croft. The lamps will return to be embedded within the sand floor in the shape of the astrological symbol of Saturn representing an ancient scythe reflecting his role as the God of Agriculture. Enjoy traditional Swedish kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) and glögg (mulled wine) in our pop up cafe. You can also pop along to House Of Meg's Christmas Market On Saturday 10th December from 4.00 - 7.00pm where you will find more craft stalls and festival treats and the launch of Gilsland Village Christmas Window display.

Celebrating the Swedish heritage of Director Amanda Drago and the 1900th anniversary of Hadrian’s Wall, we are combining the festivals of Sankta Lucia and the Festival of Saturnalia to create a light installation in The Threshing Barn at Green Croft On The Wall which focuses on the themes of the 2 festivals; light and agriculture. 

Lucerna, Latin for oil lamp, stems from lux meaning light as does the name Lucia, or Saint Lucy the patron saint of Syracuse, Sicily from which the Swedish festival of Sankta Lucia is named. The modern day celebration on December 13 is generally associated with Sweden and Norway, but its roots can be traced back to Italy in the 4th century.

House Of Meg Christmas Market 

Saturday 10th December 4.00pm - 7.00pm 

House of Meg will be hosting their annual Christmas market with local craft stalls and serving mulled wine, pigs in blankets and festive treats. 

Gilsland Village Christmas Window Display

Saturday 10th December from 4.00pm to Saturday 17th December 

House Of Meg are encouraging families to join in with the Gilsland Village Christmas Window display with a "Christmas through the years" theme. 


Create & perform a sketch with Chris Cantrill

Gilsland Village Hall 

Would you like to try your hand at comedy and acting?

We are looking for performers to be part of a devised sketch/farce that will be performed at our Festival Of Saturnalia Roman Feast. No acting experience needed just enthusiasm and a playful spirit. The piece is titled The Lord Of Misrule, a character traditionally responsible for making mischief during the celebrations ruling over chaos rather than order. You will work with writer & comedian Chris Cantrill in devising a short farce / skit / satire. 

Rehearsals are at Gilsland Village Hall on the following dates and times

  • 7.30pm - 9.00pm Thursday 1st December

  • 7.30pm - 9.00pm Thursday 8th December

  • 10.00am - 12.00pm Wednesday 14th December

  • Afternoon and Evening of Saturday 17th December for the performance 


Project Gallery