Today is the last day of Saturnalia, the ancient Roman winter festival. Congratulations to our many Roman pagan readers!
Here's what Saturnalia involved, according to the Encyclopedia Romana:
During the holiday, restrictions were relaxed and the social order inverted. Gambling was allowed in public. Slaves were permitted to use dice and did not have to work. . . Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. Slaves were treated as equals, allowed to wear their masters' clothing, and be waited on at meal time in remembrance of an earlier golden age thought to have been ushered in by the god. In the Saturnalia, Lucian relates that "During My week the serious is barred; no business allowed. Drinking, noise and games and dice, appointing of kings and feasting of slaves, singing naked, clapping of frenzied hands, an occasional ducking of corked faces in icy water—such are the functions over which I preside."
Although Saturnalia is ending, it's not too late to take advantage of the inversion of the social order. Professors switching places with students fits well with the Roman custom of slaves switching places with masters. So if any of my students want to grade the huge pile of Property exams currently awaiting my ministrations, you are more than welcome!