Monday, December 17, 2007

Green Bay becomes part of Interfaith Awareness Week

United Press International

Pagan wreath added to Christmas display

Published: Dec. 15, 2007 at 7:44 PM
GREEN BAY, Wis., Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Officials in Green Bay, Wis., have added a Wiccan element to the Christmas display at City Hall -- a pagan wreath.

A pagan Yule wreath encircling a gold Wiccan pentacle was installed Friday night next to a Christian nativity scene. The wreath, about 3 feet in diameter, is used by Wiccans to celebrate the winter solstice.

Green Bay City Council President Chad Fradette installed the nativity scene above one of the building's entrances Wednesday night. Fradette and Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt then said the display would be open to other religious expressions, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported.

The Rev. Selena Fox of the Wiccan Circle Sanctuary said in a release she decided to propose adding the Yule wreath after city officials offered to include expressions of religious faith other than Christian.

"Our pentacle wreath represents our celebration of Yuletide and the new solar year," said Fox, "and also is part of our observance of Interfaith Awareness Week in Wisconsin which we have been celebrating all week."

Fox said winter solstice and Christmas celebrations have intermingled for 1,700 years, and that many customs associated with Christmas -- including evergreens, wreaths, mistletoe, exchanging of gifts and kindling of lights -- had their origins in "pagan winter solstice traditions of antiquity."

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