Simpson interfaith community hosts annual “Party with the Pagans” event


by Evan Burley, Staff Reporter

Students gathered Friday at Dirlam Lounge for “Party with the Pagans,” a religion educational event organized by members of the campus interfaith community. 

The group consisted of seven attendees and two students who served as dialogue leaders. The event was conducted as a question and answer forum, with attendees encouraged to ask anything they wanted to know about paganism and practicing pagans providing insight. 

According to Merriam-Webster, “pagan” originated in the Roman Empire as a word used by early Christians to describe any non-Christian, polytheistic religion. In the modern era, the word also refers to individuals who practice contemporized versions of pre-Christian religious practices and faith traditions. 

Sophomore Maggie Nielsen, the public relations intern for the Religious Life Community, went to the event.

“I go to all events to not only learn more, but so that I can accurately portray Interfaith online,” said Nielsen. “I specifically went to Party with the Pagans because paganism has always intrigued me, and I had fun last year.” 

According to Nielsen, the primary goal of interfaith events is to provide education in a casual environment.

“The reason Party with the Pagans was started was to educate the campus about paganism and lesser known spiritual identities in a way that was fun, and therefore more available to students who might have otherwise felt turned off by it,” Nielsen said. 

Nielson said she wished more people attended the event.

Nielsen said. “As with the past Party with the Pagan events, I think the main goal is just that people learned something and they appreciate what they learned, and they are able to take that knowledge and go forward with a new outlook.” 

There are plans for more interfaith events specific to paganism in the future. One event will be dedicated to Samhain, a Celtic holiday which celebrates the autumnal equinox, the end of the harvest season and the beginning of a new year. 

This, according to Nielsen, will be one of the bigger events coming up. 

“Otherwise,” Nielsen said, “there might be smaller events in the future. All of those can be found on interfaith social media accounts.” 

While there are educational events dedicated to paganism now, this was not always the case.

“Party with the Pagans started three years ago with an RLC member who was pagan,” Nielsen said. “He wanted to be able to give the Simpson community a look into his spirituality. That’s how a lot of our interfaith events in general start.”

Nielsen went on to note the low pagan representation within the interfaith community.

“There isn’t a whole lot of pagan representation because paganism itself is so unique,” Nielsen said. “There are multiple facets to it, it’s not a unified core that can be presented. It is also lesser known, less practiced, so there isn’t as much representation.”