Hey there, Philly-area pagans and heathens: Your special day is coming up. Philadelphia Pagan Pride Day is set for Saturday at Clark Park in West Philly.
“I think this area is very eager to have something like this,” says Robert L. Lusch-Schreiwer, 47, of Bristol and president of the newly formed Philadelphia Pagan Pride.
There will be more than 30 vendors and 10 pagan-related workshops throughout the day. Philadelphia Pagan Pride only has about 20 members, but the interest in a bigger event seems to be there.
“There’s a lot of negative connotation because people may have never met a pagan, and they seem like strange, far-off people,” says Annie Humphrey, 26, of Forked River, N.J., and vice present of PPP. “We’re trying to show that we’re normal members of the community.”
Here are a few frequently asked questions that PPP gets. A pagan and a heathen are basically the same thing — the only difference is that the word “pagan” has Latin roots, while “heathen” is Germanic. Paganism and heathenism are “essentially traditions and religions outside the, quote, big three (Christianity, Judaism and Islam),” Humphrey says. “Basically, we’re looking at people reconstructing the pre-Christian religions of Europe.”
Both Lusch-Schreiwer and Humphrey are followers of Germanic pre-Christian religions. In a way it’s not surprising as there are many remnants of paganism still in Western culture.
“Easter is a Germanic goddess and there’s all this stuff about Christmas, like the trees, lights and presents,” Humphrey says. “We want to keep the Thor in Thursday.”
That they do, but they also want to be good neighbors during Pagan Pride Day.
“Kids are welcome, families are welcome,” Humphrey says. “Another thing we want to make clear is that this isn’t just for pagans. We want everyone to come out, we want everyone to see what where about and it’s completely family friendly. Bring grandma, bring the grandkids.”
Philadelphia Pagan Pride Day
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Clark Park, 4301 Chester Ave.
The day is free but attendees are asked to bring canned food or other provisions for the event’s beneficiaries: the Mazzoni Center Food bank, Forgotten Cats and the In-Reach Heathen Prison Services.