Discuss the influence of the Pagan Festival movement, and how the festivals changed Paganism in the 1980s.
Before the 1970’s Paganism was one of the most underground communities. It hide to the point that most people seeking to find like-minded people may have spent years if not a lifetime seeking a tradition to learn from. In 1976 local groups in Chicago came together to develop a Pagan council so the various traditions could come together, safely, to present what they had to offer to the public (Midwest Pagan Council). In 1977, the Council opened the doors on the first Pan Pagan Festival. It was and still is “… a 5 day Fest that official opens on Wednesday…. Held in August, at a campground…” (Midwest Pagan Council). This was the birth of a tradition in its own right. The
ir number s of participants
has continued to grow to the point that there are people who just travel the US
as vendors at Festivals as their source of income. Festivals have grown from Pan,
“… signifying all-encompassing…” to more specific Festivals in modern times.
Here in my area, northwest Arkansas, we have a Goddess Festival each year that
is designed to celebrate the Goddess figure throughout many cultures and
traditions. We also have a men’s Festival, which focuses solely on the gay and
bisexual aspects of the various Gods throughout the world.
The birth and growth of the Pagan Festival movement busted the doors to access wide open. Through them we have built communities that never existed before, giving homes to all people and traditions. These festivals fuel modern Paganism, where people, vendors, authors, and traditions can come together all over the globe to share and be as one.