Quick Notes: Weddings, Vodou, and School Holidays

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  February 21, 2010 — 18 Comments

Pagan Weddings in Ireland: Just a few quick news notes for you this Sunday, starting with the news that Ireland will now recognize weddings performed by officiants from Pagan Federation Ireland as legally binding.

“Following a five-year campaign the Irish state has now recognized the right of the Pagan Federation Ireland to perform weddings. Couples will now be able to be legally married after a ceremony that concludes with jumping over a broomstick to mark crossing over from an old life to a new one.”

Before this, Pagan couples would have to get legally married at a separate civil ceremony, and then participate in a religious ceremony of their choosing. A circumstance that still holds in the UK (unless you’re Christian). Eight solemnizers are currently being trained under the new guidelines, and no doubt wedding planners who work with Pagan tourists are excited about these new developments.

Invisible Vodou Aid: The BBC  examines why Vodou, practiced by such a large number of Haitians, isn’t more visible in post-earthquake relief efforts. What emerges are more accusations that some Christian aid missions are excluding and turning away Vodou practitioners.

“Some Christian communities do not want to give food to voodoo followers,” [Theodore ‘Lolo’ Beaubrun] says. “As soon as they see people wearing peasant clothes or voodoo handkerchiefs, they put them aside and deny them food. This is something I’ve seen.”

It should be noted that this isn’t the attitude of all aid organizations, many, most notably Catholic charities, have been welcoming  towards Vodou practitioners. In addition, Vodou practitioners took part, along with Christians, in a recent 3-day prayer ceremony held for earthquake victims. Still, these incidents of exclusion are deeply troubling, and point to a thread of “aid” that is more about winning souls than saving lives.

Pagan Holidays in New Jersey: In a final note, word has been spreading through Pagan e-mail lists that the New Jersey State Board of Education has added the eight Wiccan/Pagan “Wheel of the Year” holidays to its “official” list.

“I just got a call from the NJ Board of Education. They are adding 8 Wiccan/Pagan holidays to the “official” BoE calendar! They just wanted to double check the dates with me, in response to my letter to them in December. They said it will be adopted as official policy next month at the March BoE meeting!! our holidays plus a couple Jewish ones they apparently missed.”

This means that school children in New Jersey can now take an excused absence for those eight holidays without question. The addition of Pagan holidays came after  a Salem County School refused to grant an excused absence for Yule to a Pagan student, which started a letter-writing campaign by local Pagan parents. Congratulations to the New Jersey Pagans for this win!

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Bookhousegal

    Some good news is most welcome. Hail, Ireland and New Jersey! :)

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      I thought the Catholic Church was given a "special relationship" with the Irish state in the Irish constitution.

      • jake

        That was repealed in'73.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          Thanks.

          • Annaliza

            What about Ohio? It would be nice if our kids had that right. BB!

  • http://www.hecatedemetersdatter.blogspot.com Hecate

    Fantastic news from New Jersey! That just makes me very happy!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Crystal7431 Crystal7431

      Wonderful. wonderful! I hope other states will follow suit.

      • Kit

        That is great new from New Jersey. I live in Pennsylvania and we're right next door. Hey PA, let's follow their lead!

  • http://www.BooksByBarefoot.com Barefoot Books Liz

    I hope other states will follow New Jersey's lead!

  • Stephanie

    I’ve lived in New Jersey my whole life, and I’m so happy to hear about this! I knew it might go through and now that it did, I’m so excited! I’m a Junior in High School and plan to take the days off so now I can celebrate all day!

  • http://dancingamongstthetrees.blogspot.com/ Fox

    Happy New Jersey parent here! I’m so excited to hear that I won’t be fighting the school system over having my son out for holidays. There’s a lot I don’t like about NJ, but this is a huge check in the plus column.

  • Rombald

    Strictly speaking, yes. However, the Catholic Church has some sort of oficial status in various countries. In Spain, the monarchs are titled "Los Reyes Catolicos".In Argentina, only a Catholic can become President.

  • Valerie Freseman

    This is too good to believe about New Jersey!!!

    Valerie

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  • http://badassbard.blogspot.com Thomas

    It's nice to see a collection of headlines about the Pagan community that are majority positive.

  • whitewolf

    I have lived in New Jersey for all of my life. What wonderful news from New Jersey. I'm totally happy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/holly.carter Holly Carter

    As an NJ resident, I am totally thrilled. Go Jersey!

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