Philadelphia Pagan Pride hosted its first incorporated Pagan Pride Day at Clark Park last week on Aug. 31.
Pagan Pride Day is a chance for Pagans, Wiccans, Heathens and other groups to celebrate shared traditions and learn about different customs.
Robert Schreiwer, president of the board of directors for Philadelphia Pagan Pride, got the idea after attending similar events in Pittsburg, Dover, Del., and Pennsauken, N.J.
“And so I decided, you know what, let’s actually get this established in Philadelphia,” Schreiwer, a Heathen, said. “We have a large, growing Pagan and Heathen community. Let’s make something happen.”
Paganism, Wicca and Heathenism are nature-based religions, with influences ranging from Celtic folklore, to Greek mythology and even Native American religions.
US Census Bureau estimates from 2008, the most recently available, counted 342,000 people as self-identified Wiccan and 340,000 as self-identified Pagan. The variety of sects within these denominations and the secrecy of members make it difficult to determine the precise numbers of practicing Pagans, Wiccans and Heathens in the United States.
Vendors and workshops like “Simple Rituals for Everyday Life” and “What NeoPagans Can Learn from African Traditions” intended to introduce people to other sects’ traditions.
“My friend Dream from Red Oak Grove in Cherry Hill is going to be running a workshop … so I’ll probably go and show him some moral support.” said Kerry (Mair) Mairie of Altar Egos jewelry and fine art. Mairie identifies as druid. “I am part of a grove of demigods in New Brunswick,” she said.
The day was also designated a harvest festival, a common late summer tradition for Pagan and Wiccan religions.
“It’s a recognition of wonders of life, the bounty of that land that we live in,” Schreiwer said. “But not just of the physical bounty but of the spiritual bounty, and also the rewards that we reap building friendships with people and community.”