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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 20,332,428  

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Question of the Week: 29 - 2/19/2001

How About Some New Holidays?

June 22, 2001 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the repeal of the last Witchcraft law (or anti-Witchcraft law, if you will) in England. Shortly after that event, the flow of information related to ancient and modern Witchcraft and Wiccan practices, beliefs and rituals began to flow across the waters into the United States and beyond (Whether British Witches think that this was/is a good or bad thing is still debated in some circles). Should we do something to celebrate this event each year, and especially, during this 50th anniversary year? Someone else suggested that October 4th-marking the first time ever a Wiccan (Bryan Lankford) gave an invocation at a government assembly-be adopted as 'Invocation Day.' What founder birthdays, anniversaries or significant-to-Pagan-history events might we consider as communal Holidays?

 Reponses:   There are 39 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

8 Sabbats And 13 Moons Is Plenty, Don't You Think? I Must... Feb 20th. at 1:08:32 pm EST

Marea (Niagara Falls, Ontario CA) Age: 30 - Email

8 Sabbats and 13 moons is plenty, don't you think?

I must say that we have a series of festivals set in a wheel of the year for good reason - because everything has it's season and it's appropriate time for expression. We move through the sabbats in cyclical fashion because this is the way the natural world moves, and our purpose is to bring ourselves in balance with it. Certainly the celebration of milestones in pagan history is a laudable effort, but we can express that celebration in the context of a Sabbat or a moon if we wish. Consider celebrating the repeal of anti-witchcraft laws at Imbolc - the time of the quickening, when the first seed is given the impetus to flourish. Or how about celebrating the end of the Inquisition at Samhain, when the Roll of the Martyrs is often read? Just a couple ideas to get the creative juices flowing............


How About Pagan Martyrs' Days? This Is Something Found As A Sort... Feb 20th. at 2:15:18 pm EST

Aedh Rua (Prophetstown, Illinois US) Age: 35 - Email

How about Pagan martyrs' days?

This is something found as a sort of minor modern "secular tradition" among some Asatru groups. It shows up in one of Kveldulf Gundarsson's books, among other places. The basic idea is to memorialize the day a particular person died for their Pagan or Heathen faith. Most of the Asatru examples were people killed in various grisly ways by Olaf the Lawbreaker, aka "Saint" Olaf, though there are also a few days dedicated to people who successfully resisted the Christian incursions into their area, Radbod of Friesenland being an example.

Other Pagan and Heathen traditions could have days dedicated to figures from their history, Hypatia of Alexandria being an obvious example from Greco-Roman traditions. Oddly enough, my own, Celtic, tradition doesn't have very many matryrs that I know of, unless you count people burned as witches, of whom there were a great many. Most of them, however, were in fact practicing Christians, which makes them rather unsuitable as Pagan martyrs.

There were a number of Druids who resisted Christianity with various degrees of success, and a number of kings who refused to convert, and continued to hold to the old ways well into the 500s or 600s, depending on which sources you believe. Whether it would be possible to dedicate days to them, I don't know.

There might also be some non-European Pagan traditions which would have people martyred by religions other that Christianity, particularly Middle Eastern traditions who lost leaders to Islam or very early Yahwism.

These sorts of days would be a good way to complement celebrations of various types of Pagan revival, such as the repeal of repressive laws, or the first Pagan to deliver a public invocation. It would help to create an impression of a Pagan History, a story of greatness, followed by oppression, survival, revival, and maybe eventually greatness again.

As to birthdays, I don't know, they might do for humor. Somehow I just can't take the idea of feasting on Papa G's or Starhawk's birthday very seriously. This is not meant to offend Starhawk; I rather suspect she would agree with me, particularly since one does not normally turn the birthday of a LIVING leader into a holiday. In any case, we are not the followers of Prophets who have Revealed to us the Truth and Chosen us from all human kind. I do know a few people who might take Gardner's birthday, or another one, as an excuse to get good and drunk, but that's about it.

Please No More Holidays! There Are Too Many To Deal With Today... Feb 20th. at 5:16:31 pm EST

eaglewoman (Phoenix, Arizona US) Age: 46 - Email

Please no more holidays! There are too many to deal with today! Every single day there is a holiday and more are added every day. I just prefer to stick with the wheel and leave it at that. What's wrong with writing stuff like this down in a book, like a Pagan history book. US history, English history, etc.from the last 50 years. There are too many wonderful people who would not get 'honored' by a holiday, but if there was a book, like LIFE then pictures could be donated, stories be told, dates put in history so all would know what has happened or is happening and keep our wonderfully rich history alive.

Your Suggestions Stated In The Question Sound Great, But I Feel That... Feb 20th. at 10:11:44 pm EST

Ember (Salisbury, Maryland US) Age: 23 - Email

Your suggestions stated in the question sound great, but I feel that Earth Day is already the unspoken 9th Pagan holiday! :) Also I felt that Grandparents Day (when is it? I have no clue) could be celebrated in a Pagan way as "Elders Day"... a day where we recognize those wise leaders who have mentored us. We each individualy have people we consider "Elders" they deserve to be recognized!
One day everyone could use is "Religious Diversity Day".....I doubt we will get such a day as a national holiday in the next 4 years... grumble grumble grumble


I Understand Your Intentions, My Friend, And I Commend You. Personally, I... Feb 20th. at 11:20:14 pm EST

CedarWind (State College, Pennsylvania US) Age: 45

I understand your intentions, my friend, and I commend you. Personally, I don't think I would want any more than the Earth Mother has given us Herself...the change of the seasons, the moon phases...all sacred gifts from Her.

For me, every day that I am able to listen to the birds in my yard, and watch the wind play in the branches of the trees in my woods, and step outside and breath deeply and feel Her breeze on my cheek, or be greeted by the warmth of Brother Sun, is holiday enough for me.

The real validation is in my heart as a gift from Her--they mean more to me than any holiday proclaimed by society.

In Peace and Light,

I Differ From Many Of The Respondents Here; I Don't Celebrate The... Feb 21st. at 12:55:08 am EST

Miss Frabjous Day (San Leandro, California US) Age: 46

I differ from many of the respondents here; I don't celebrate the entire wheel of the Wiccan year. My holiday season runs from Samhain to Imbolc, and after that, my attention wanders.

I like the idea of a Religious Diversity Day. It could be a festive interfaith kind of thing, visiting each other's rites as guests. We can even take this outside of neo-Paganism, if we want to. Picture, if you will, a nice Asatru family checking out the local African Methodist Episcopal church!

The eight sabbats of the Wiccan year are just that -- Wiccan. Asatru and Santeria, to name just two, have different calendars (and I admit I know nothing about them). How many solitaries are already developing holidays of their own?

Two examples of American holidays: Mother's Day, and El Dia de los Muertos.

Mother's Day was pretty much the work of one woman, Ana Jarvis, who meant it to be more than the candy-and-card thing it is today. It is a constructed holiday, not an organic one.

El Dia de los Muertos, though, has much deeper and wider roots, with customs layered centuries deep. And now it is transforming again, becoming even richer. In the U.S., it crashed festively into our Samhain and Halloween celebrations, and Unitarian Universalist churches are mixing it up. It's a wonderful thing, and if it spreads to the wider community it will do so organically, which is the best way.

Firm Believer In The More The Better! I Love Holidays And Not... Feb 21st. at 2:04:42 pm EST

Jen (Columbus, Ohio US) Age: 28 - Email

Firm believer in the more the better!

I love holidays and not those silly here is a card and candy or wave a flag kind where you dont even get a day off and they really mean zipola. I would love to see more holidays added to the offical calendar WITH the accompanying federal holiday status, thank you very much. I still say it is a corporate America plot to keep us working as much as possible to earn them fat profits off the back of the Earth and us too. GASP, another day off, how dare you, you are too lazy to be American!

Off my rant. I think we should start with expanding our existing holidays. From what I understand they used to be celebrated over several days. I would love to see a couple of week long celebrations up and running. Or at least a few days. Can you imagine a Beltane festival lasting all week with full legal recognition so we dont have to hide on some out of the way camp ground. Not that it isent nice, but I have had to turn down many an opportunity because of the time and distance and cash involved. If Catholics can still manage to put together a processional or two to the Virgin Mary with the attendant Carnival (in the middle of the city), why not us?

I'd Like To See The Date That The Helms Amendment Was Defeated... Feb 21st. at 9:01:16 pm EST

MythBlade Talismonger (Jackson, Michigan US) Age: 35 - Email

I'd like to see the date that the Helms Amendment was defeated ( a measure attempting to refuse non-profit, tax-exempt status to to any organization "promoting witchcraft") being made a day of rememberance, of reaffirming our right to practice the religion that we choose, and of reminding us we must fight to retain that right.

Scott Cunningham's Birthday.... Just Because He Was A Neat Guy Who Initiated... Feb 22nd. at 12:15:10 am EST

Parvati's Tigress (San Antonio, Texas US) Age: 17 - Email

Scott Cunningham's Birthday....

Just because he was a neat guy who initiated a lot of us to the idea of Paganism.

For Me, The Best Holidays Are Those That Are Celebrated First And... Feb 22nd. at 6:01:16 am EST

Richard Seward (San Francisco, California US) Age: 49 - Email

For me, the best holidays are those that are celebrated first and only then given governmental sanction. The reverse never quite works out. "President's Day" is an example of a holiday that has governmental sanction but no celebration. Halloween-Samhain and Chinese New Years-Festival of Lanterns are exemplary of holidays that are celebrated and enjoyed without governmental sanction ... especially in San Francisco. Days that mark events I want to celebrate become public holidays when many others feel as I do.

June 22nd and thereabouts is taken in my family ... Father's Day and Gay Pride Day come at that time of the year (no they are NOT mutually exclusive **grin**) My family also celebrates the turnings of the lunar and the solar year. And the day of first snow in Alaska. And the day the roses bloom on the fire escape. And the first day over 75 and sunny in the Bay area. And ... well, you get my drift.

I think we each celebrate our own holidays and then as many families celebrate simultaneously, critical mass is reached and the day is recognized by the society at large. I would hate to see a Pagan-Wiccan holiday on the books with the same impact National Pickle Month. First Thought Was That It Should Be My Birthday, August... Feb 22nd. at 6:16:35 am EST

Raindancer (Christchurch, New Zealand) Age: 52 - Email

MM...My first thought was that it should be my birthday, August 1, but thats taken already... seriously, I guess that as much as I like holidays, I have to come down on the side of those who see no need for some kind of "Official" holiday. There are so many already, and none of the suggestions so far has had anything approaching a universal appeal.

I think that declared OFFICIAL HOLIDAYS TM, times that may mean something to someone like Gerald Gardner Ran Out of Toilet Paper Day, but not to others, will only end up being a joke. Actually, that one already did.

There are too many Traditions, and beliefs to umbrella under one day. This is not to mention all the Eclectic Unrepentant Solitary folk like me. Its too bureaucratic/Hallmark for me.

I think that it can be said that there are as many traditions as there are people practicing. Everyone has their own slant. What I WOULD suggest is that each and every one of us, might consider making our Initiation/dedication day, or whenever it was that we made the decision to get off the fence and follow our path. It might be a day to look back on how far you've come, what you've learned, reexamine your beliefs again... have they changed, are they the same? What trials and tests has our decision brought upon us, and how have we grown as a result.

In short, personal Dedication day, might be a time to re-examine ourselves, and reaffirm our faith. Each one of us should make the choice of their day, we're too individualistic to agree on any one day, or to allow ourselves to have one chosen for us. Its a nice thought in some ways, but I don't think its very practical. Blessed Be Raindancer

A Group That I Circle With In Massachusetts Has And Will Continue... Feb 22nd. at 12:41:43 pm EST

Amy Davis (South Deerfield, Massachusetts US) Age: 28 - Email

A group that I circle with in Massachusetts has and will continue to put on a "Pagan Pride Day" event on or around September 22-24. We always have a wonderful time and there is always a great turnout. Why not think about making that time of year or another specific date a day to celebrate and have pride in our religion? Won't George 'Dubya' be surprised when he sees there really ARE Pagans who have voices?!?!

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