Druid yourself: Pagans celebrate fall harvest
All religions celebrate feast days in some manner or other, but although the reasons may be similar, the manifestations can vary dramatically. Fortunately, our country allows us the freedom and tolerance to practice however we wish without fear.
Pagans have long been associated with celebrating the earth and all her manifold beauty. Some of their more basic tenets involve the eradication of prejudice and discrimination based on religious beliefs and honoring deities of pre-Christian, classical, aboriginal, or tribal mythology.
Advocating a nature/earth-based spirituality, their festivals always coincide with natural events such as the changing of the seasons, full moons, and the most well-known, Halloween. Modern paganism is a rapidly growing religious movement based on combinations of ancient polytheism, eco-spirituality, and reverence for the divine as both masculine and feminine. Some traditions found under the Pagan umbrella include Wicca (witchcraft), Asatru (northern European), and Druidry (think Stonehenge).
The celebration Saturday, September 21, of the fourth annual Virginia Pagan Pride Day centers on a religious service observing the Autumn equinox. The day’s other offerings include many booths and presentations about Pagan spiritual practices, Pagan musicians, and Pagan vendors selling a wide variety of items one probably can’t find at the local mall.
Attendees are asked to share the autumn harvest by bringing a $5 love offering and a non-perishable food item to benefit the Jefferson Area Food Bank. The Charlottesville SPCA will also be the recipient of some of this love offering; contributions for their critters can include pet food, newspapers, and old pet cages in usable condition.
Last year 17,494 people attended the 76 Pagan Pride Day events held in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, and Brazil. Together, they collected $15,090.21 and donated 15,175 pounds of food and goods to charity. More than 115 events have been scheduled for this year.
A festival, Pagan or otherwise, celebrating the earth’s bounty as well as promoting religious tolerance could not come at a better time. Let peace reign on.
Virginia Pagan Pride Day Festival happens at Walnut Creek Park, six miles south of Charlottesville off Route 29, Saturday, September 21, 10am-6pm. Admission is free, but a suggested donation is one non-perishable food item (for humans or pets) to be given to charity and/or a $5 “love fund” donation For more information check out the website at paganprideva.com or email Branwenn@aol.com