Fancy Dress Events
This week’s prompt at the Pagan Blog Project 2012 is the letter ‘F’. I chose the topic ‘fancy dress events’ – meaning ritual attire.
I admit, one of the things I like best about Ritual is that I get to dress up. I’ll use practically any excuse to dress up, but, lucky for me, practicing my faith kinda encourages it. By ‘fancy dress’, I mean capes, coin skirts, face-paint, feathered crowns, black pointy hats, scarves, antlers, elaborate headdresses and circlets – you name it. Not all at the same time, of course, but pretty much ‘anything goes’.
Don’t get me wrong; fancy dress is by no means required at Pagan events, and I usually attend Teaching Circle classes in jeans and a tee-shirt. We meet for clean up days to tend our outdoor ritual space dressed in gardening gear – old clothes, bandanas and bug spray (as we should), and no one in our group goes skyclad since we’re a family oriented circle group, but come Sabbat Ritual, and we all look pretty smashing.
We haven’t had anyone dress to extremes, really. We get the occasional mask or extra ‘oomph’ in the makeup department, a nice ritual robe here and there, and we pretty much all wear capes when it’s cold, but nothing outlandish (yet). It’s obvious from everyone’s attire that Sabbats are something ‘special’, and that we have all put a little more into our appearance than normal.
Is it wrong to dress up – more than your standard Sabbat garb? Well… I can kinda see a couple of different viewpoints on this. On the one hand, I am all for freedom of expression. If dressing the part helps you to feel more in touch with your Gods, then by all means – let your freak flag fly.
On the other hand though, Sabbats and Esbats are the equivalent of ‘Sunday Church’, to me, which means semi-formal wear, at least. I feel less inclined to be dressy for Esbats, but still want to appear presentable. I don’t want to get too outlandish; that would feel… disrespectful, maybe.
Then again, I also tend to think that the more joyful you are, the happier your worship and honor is, the more it is appreciated – and if dressing up makes you happy, then go for it.
And then there’s the perception part. As a Pagan, I want my religion to be taken seriously. I don’t want it to be seen as a joke, or something hokey that attracts bored teenagers and unsavory types. I don’t want the practice of my faith to become a source of ridicule for myself, for my children or for other local Pagans… and so on some level, I do feel a slight bit of responsibility to make sure that if I go somewhere before or after ritual, that I don’t make a spectacle of myself.
And then again… when I come across an awesome mask… or a set of wings… or a funky witch hat… somehow they seem to find their way into my basket.
What are your thoughts on fancy dress for ritual wear?