All within the same week we have: Consualia, Saturnalia, Eponalia, Opalia, Divalia, and Larentalia.
Consus was the deity charged with the storage and protecting of the grain, particularly underground. Beasts of burden were given the day off. Actually, they were given the weekend off: a few days later was the Eponalia. here is an allegedly Gaulish Goddess of horses who was "transferred" into the Roman cult. The name might have been, but Demeter was worshiped as a horse Goddess in antiquity, especially in reference to Her relationship with Neptune with whom she had children. Demeter is also the Goddess of the grain, oft syncretized with Ceres. She was a daughter of Saturn and Ops and in addition to teaching humanity how to grow the stuff, She was also in charge of teaching humanity how to preserve and prepare it.
Looks like we have a theme!
Opis was the wife of Saturn, a cthonic Goddess- THE cthonic Goddess!
Quoth the holy wiki:
The Latin word ops means "riches, goods, abundance, gifts, munificence, plenty". The word is also related to opus, which means "work", particularly in the sense of "working the earth, ploughing, sowing". This activity was deemed sacred, and was often attended by religious rituals intended to obtain the good will of chthonic deities such as Ops and Consus. Ops is also related to the Sanskrit word ápnas ("goods, property").
I've seen her referred to as a Sabine Goddess but haven't yet found the source material. Wiki goes on to report that King Titus Tatius, a Sabine monarch, instituted Her cult.
I'm going to pause here and save the other festivals for a subsequent post and focus on the theme at play:
• Father who provides the seed and, as Time itself, makes it grow
• Mother who hosts the seed from whom abundance and riches spring
• Daughter who brings the grain to humanity and teaches its arts
• Son(?) who stores and protects it
Aside from the frantic frolicking of Saturnalia proper, this week is about surviving the Winter and having something to plant in the Spring, something to look forward to. Makes you wonder at the Saturnalia traditions; The frolicking fun was allegedly started to lift spirits after Rome was beaten by Carthage. Sounds similar to Lincoln instituting the Thanksgiving celebration we know today during the Civil War.
There are many references to Saturnalia on the internet, many quoting Macrobius' Saturnalia. I'm currently working my way through it in both Latin and the on line English translations. So far it's driving me crazy! There's an interesting passage on Janus, the Janiculum, and Saturn! I can't wait to delve into the relationship between these two!
If you'd like to check it out with me, take a gander starting right above p51. I've included the google translate link.