Io, Saturnalia, said the Romans, to greet the Solstice festival. For seven days a year, they would reverse the social order; revel in lawlessness and mockery. It was a time when gods were scorned and gambling in public was permitted. The jester wore the emperor’s toga and his orders were obeyed no matter how bizarre. This reversal of roles was, however, only temporary and symbolic – the jester was not free to make any binding decisions, and, at the end of the festival, anything he decreed would be revoked.
When Saturnalia ended, the tomfoolery stopped, everybody returned to their long-established values, and the accustomed order was restored.
Can we likewise expect a come back to normality at the end of our ten years long Saturnalia?
I hope so, but I wouldn’t lay a wager on that.