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Pagan Pride

9 August 10 words: Debbie Davies
300 Pagans crossing the road dressed in an impressive array of outfits is just not something you expect to see of a Sunday morning

Ok, I've read the Harry Potter books and watched all the episodes of Charmed, so I thought I had some idea of what I was in for as I walked over to Nottingham Castle one sunny morning in August to watch the first Pagan Pride March to take place outside of London.

Nottingham Pagan Pride 2010 - photo by Debbie Davis (c)

But I don't think any Xena style telly had quite prepared you for what I was about to experience. I had expected a group of black lace wearing teenage wannabee witches but the reality was so much better and so much more genuine. As I walked around the corner I was greeted with a riot of colour and sound, coming from an eclectic mix of around 300 people, seemingly of all ages and all backgrounds. Kids in pushchairs, families, students and more than a sprinkling of professional people who would not look out of place running the office or local bank. Clearly Paganism has a very wide appeal.

Nottingham Pagan Pride 2010 - photo by Debbie Davis (c)

They had all gathered to celebrate the traditional pagan festival of Lammas and at the same time tell the people Nottingham that they where all proud to be practicing Pagans. For those of you who do not know about pagans, they follow a number of beliefs and faiths centred around the seasons, the elements and the natural word, including gods and goddesses who pre-date Christianity. Names like Pan, the Green Man and The Moon Goddess all feature in paganism. It's a religion of harmony and understanding, which to my surprise is something I felt a connection with as I watched.

Nottingham Pagan Pride 2010 - photo by Debbie Davis (c)

Around 11am the police escort provided by Nottinghamís finest arrived and to the banging of drums and chants of "We love the Goddess" and "Pagan and Proud" everyone headed off towards Maid Marian Way. To be honest, I'm sure that the traffic would have stopped dead even without the intervention of the police. Let's face it, the sight of 300 Pagans crossing the road dressed in all sorts of costumes and outfits is just not something you expect see on a quiet Sunday morning in Nottingham!

Nottingham Pagan Pride 2010 - photo by Debbie Davis (c)

It was fantastic to see the surprise and delight on the faces of shoppers as they clapped and shouted, kids where waving and it seemed that everyone was just happy to welcome the 300 strong parade as it entered the Market Square.

Nottingham Pagan Pride 2010 - photo by Debbie Davis (c)

It was an amazing sight to watch people just walk up asking what it was all about and as they walked away they had genuine smiles on their faces! Clearly the joy of the pagans was infectious in all the best ways.

Nottingham Pagan Pride 2010 - photo by Debbie Davis (c)

From the Market Square the parade moved up King Street, across Parliament Street and through the city with more and more on lookers waving and smiling as they went. Eventually everyone made their way to the Arboretum where there where around 500 more pagans who had gathered to spend the day being entertained with music, story telling and a wide range of workshops and discussions on all things pagan, while enjoying the beautifully tranquil gardens and trees. You could not have wished for a more perfect location to celebrate, mix with and worship nature.

From a personal point of view I was moved by this event, I'm proud of Nottingham, my home city for making these people so welcome and I was proud of all the pagans who had turned out for spreading their joy, their diversity of ideas and beliefs.

I really hope that this is the first of many Pagan Prides and if they do this again next year, I might just go along myself.

Photos by Debbie Davies (c)

Pagan Pride was held on Sunday August 1 2010.

Pagan Pride website


The East Midlands Pagan Federation

The Pagan Federation





                
 

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