Humphrey's Facebook post

A student has accused the Trinity Hall June Event of misusing a religious holiday for its theme, ‘Solstice’. Georgia Humphrey, who is a Wiccan, pointed out in a Facebook post that Wiccans and other pagans celebrate the solstices every year as religious holidays.

Humphrey, the LGBT+ officer at Christ’s College, said in a comment, “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 stone henge every year in crazy robes and stuff”.

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.”

Wiccan traditions and beliefs were developed in the 20th century and inspired by pre-Christian European folk religions; they have often been the subject of misrepresentation in popular culture. Placing the Trinity Hall June Event in line with these misrepresentations, the student wrote: “It’s never fun to see your beliefs bastardised for the entertainment of others”.

Speaking to Varsity, Humphrey said: “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.”


Mountain View

Trinity Hall June Event Committee respond to accusations of religious misrepresentation

However, she said that she didn’t expect Trinity Hall to change their theme, saying: “I think it was a stupid, fairly thoughtless decision, but I also know that it wasn’t done out of malice. I am on the Christ’s May Ball committee, so I know how difficult choosing themes and organising a ball is.

“However, 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. Maybe even learn a little about the religions to whom the solstice is so important.”

Two years ago, Trinity Hall was forced to drop its ‘Toyko to Kyoto’ theme following a backlash over ‘cultural appropriation’.

Update 25/1, 00:25am: The headline was amended to replace “witchcraft beliefs” with “pagan beliefs”.

Update 25/1, 10:34am: This article was updated to include comment from Georgia Humphrey.