Being Pileated is a Saturnalian Tradition

During the December festival of Saturnalia, Romans threw their social norms out the window.  They partied, gave gifts, ate, drank and gambled.  They also engaged in role reversals in which masters served food to their slaves and the slaves could disregard their masters.

According to Wikipedia, “Romans of citizen status normally went about bare-headed, but for the Saturnalia donned the pileus, the conical felt cap that was the usual mark of a freedman. Slaves were not ordinarily entitled to wear the pileus, but they wore it as well.  Everyone was “pileated” without distinction.”

Just like this woodpecker.

(photo by Dick Martin)

One thought on “Being Pileated is a Saturnalian Tradition

  1. I just love this bird. When I lived in a more rural area in Conway & when I was many many years younger when I actually hung clothes out on a clothes line the first time I met one was when he swooped over my head to try to steal a wooden clothes pin. Then I always saw him most everyday. We have one here in Bridgeville, altho it is not pileated kind. It is still a red headed woodpecker & prior to the last painting of our building, which is wood he had made a nest inside somewhere & because he was endangered also we could not close up the hole until the last kid had done flew the coop!!! Now he still comes to my feeder and it interesting to watch. But that bigger one is surely a charmer for me.

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