The Pagan Student Association held their annual Faerie Festival Saturday. Held on Sanford Mall, the festival included several events such as inflatable jousting, maypole dancing and tarot or divination card readings for participants. Cotton candy and flower crowns were also available to buy at the festival.
The Pagan Student Association is the only pagan club on campus. Throughout the year, the club puts on several events such as the Halloween Ball and the Faerie Festival.
The Faerie Festival is typically held during the university’s spring open house every year. Incoming freshmen are encouraged to get involved with the association and holding the festival on open house also helps to promote diverse spirituality on campus.
During the Faerie Festival, people from all religious backgrounds are welcome to participate in the events. Inflatable jousting is mostly a fun activity to bring attention to the festival but also has some medieval age undertones, when the practice of paganism was at a peak point in history, according to historytoday.com.
Flower crowns originate from the classical world. Some pagan religions use flower crowns as symbols of power, wealth and faith. During the medieval ages, many pagans used flowers to decorate the statues of their gods, according to theknot.com.
Maypole dancing is another activity held during the festival. Maypole dancing originates as a folk dance from Germany and Sweden, where men and women dance around a pole decorated in colorful flowers. Dancers grab on to the colorful ribbons and dance around the pole, wrapping the ribbon several times around it, according to historicalharmonies.org.
Within some forms of paganism, the maypole dancing tradition is used as a fertility ritual. Dancers wishing for a fertile life, whether to have children, success or money, would perform the ritual to secure their own futures, according to historicalharmonies.org.
Free divination and tarot card readings were also available with trained fortune readers performing short sessions for participants. Tarot and divination readings are a big part of paganism, with followers hoping to receive advice for the future, according to keen.com.
Tarot card decks are specially made, while divination can be practiced with a standard deck of cards. While tarot cards give complex and occasionally confusing advice, divination cards provide more of a direct path of advice those receiving the reading need to take, according to beliefnet.com
“Tarot and divination cards are not as profound at telling the future as everyone thinks they are. They’re mostly just ways for people to receive advice about certain situations they may be going through and how to approach those situations. They pretty much tell you everything you already know, just helping you figure out how to approach the situation,” Blue Piaski, one of the readers, said.
Justyn Hanna, a junior computer science major, is the PSA’s current treasurer and next year’s president. Hanna helped to organize the event, understanding the importance of representation of diverse spiritualities and religions on App’s campus.
“We have a decent amount of representation on campus because there are more pagans at App than most people realize,” Hanna said. “And we are very open to respecting other religions and we welcome people from all backgrounds to come and find out more about paganism and the traditions that come with it. The Faerie Festival is important to us because it’s not only a promotional activity, but it also represents the idea of Faerie lore.”
Many pagans within PSA follow Celtic beliefs, according to Hanna.
Story By: Amber Grant, A&E Reporter
Photo By: Lynette Files, Staff Photographer
Featured Photo Caption: Participants at the Faerie Festival on Sanford Mall. The festival was held by the Pagan Student Association on Saturday afternoon.