A student has slammed organisers of a Cambridge University event for hosting a pagan-themed function because she is Wiccan.
Georgia Humphrey, who is Christ’s College’s LGBT+ officer, said the festival at Trinity Hall, which has a ‘Solstice’ theme this year, will anger Druids and other believers.
Ms Humphrey also accused organisers of ‘bastardising’ the beliefs of a sect of modern day druids, who say the event amounts to sacrilege.
She wrote: ‘Lol @ Trinity Hall June Event using a religious holiday as a theme (gross), and not even having it on the right day.
Georgia Humphrey, who is Christ’s College’s LGBT+ officer, said the event at Trinity Hall, which has a ‘Solstice’ theme this year, will anger Druids and other believers
‘The Solstice is at 11am on the 21st this year kids, not the 20th. Also pls [sic] leave my religion alone.’
She added later: ‘I think it’s pretty grim to use any religion’s festivals as an excuse for a bunch of students to get drunk.’
The student also took exception to the organisers using images of Stonehenge in promotion material, because it is a place of religious significance.
Ms Humphrey also accused organisers of ‘bastardising’ the beliefs of a sect of modern day druids, who say the event amounts to sacrilege
In an interview with the student newspaper Varsity , Ms Humphrey said of this year’s ball ‘I was generally annoyed at the theme
Writing on social media, she said ‘I’m wiccan, which is a branch of paganism.
‘We, along with most other branches of paganism (druids, satanists, hedge witches etc) celebrate the solstices every year and are usually the ones hanging out at [sic] stone henge every year in crazy robes and stuff.’
The annual party, one of the most popular fixtures on the Cambridge social calendar, has previously taken on similarly outlandish themes.
WHAT IS WICCA?
There are thought to be as many as 11,000 practising Wiccans in England and Wales
Wicca is a modern day religious movement drawing on ancient druidry and ritual practices, commonly referred to as pagan witchcraft.
It emerged during the early 1900s and began to develop a cult following in England through the teachings of Gerald Gardner, an amateur anthropologist and author.
There are thought to be as many as 11,000 practising Wiccans in England and Wales, according to census data.
They included the Brothers Grimm, Mardi Gras and Marmalade Skies.
This year’s event, which costs £85 to £120 per head, invites students to ‘dance through the shortest night into the longest day’.
In an interview with the student newspaper Varsity, Ms Humphrey said of this year’s ball ‘I was generally annoyed at the theme.
‘If I got upset about every instance of someone misrepresenting pagan religions or mocking me for my beliefs I’d never get anything done.
‘It does irritate me though that I am subject to this kind of grief over my beliefs pretty much whenever someone discovers this aspect of my life, and then I discover something like this – an event that is using a holiday I celebrate seriously and with religious conviction as merely the theme for a party.
‘I hope that it makes them think a little about what decorations and events they have at their June Event, and consider the theme they are working with in careful way.’
In a statement, the organisers said: ‘The Trinity Hall June Event is one of the most popular events in May Week.
‘We are therefore eminently mindful that guests will come from an array of faiths, cultures, socioeconomic and political backgrounds, and will represent myriad beliefs and traditions.
In a statement, the organisers said: ‘The Trinity Hall June Event is one of the most popular events in May Week’. Pictured: Christ’s College
‘Our theme – Solstice (from the Latin ‘solstitium’, which refers to a stopping of the sun’s motion in the sky) – is a celebration of an astronomical phenomenon which has been recognised and celebrated for several millennia across nearly all cultures and continents.
‘We recognise the importance of the summer and winter solstice to the Wiccan community.
‘Our theme is intended to highlight and celebrate the beauty of an astronomical marvel.
‘Our predecessors across the world were awed by the beauty of the solstice and, like so many before and since, we share in their wonder and celebration.
‘It has never been our intention to appropriate any aspect of Wiccan practice.
‘We wish only to acknowledge and celebrate the beauty of the natural world.
‘We invite people of all beliefs to experience the wonder of the summer solstice with us.’