Paganism: a follower of a polytheistic religion. The early Christians used the term to refer to non-Christians who worshiped multiple deities. While Christianity remains as one of the dominant global religions, Paganism too stretches across all corners of the world, which can be best seen through this deeply captivating photo series by French photographer Charles Fréger. The series captures Pagan worshipers at their most vibrant, all costumed-up for their own version of the celebration that honors the arrival of winter.
It is not about being possessed by a spirit; it is about jumping voluntarily in the skin of an animal.
While every religion has its own set of extravagant garb (or the opposite in some cases), Paganism is undoubedtly one of the more creative ones. For their own “winter is coming” tradition, each country puts on an elaborate costume that ranges from beast and demons to animals and… straw people? Many are brilliant displays of their faith, while others are downright scary. But all in all, it’s an impressive display of culture. The sights you see before you are costumes captured from 21 countries around the world, where Fréger got to see first hand how each one was put together from their bits of real pelts, branches, bells and horns.
What’s interesting still is that while each costume has its definitive look, inspired of course by the folklore of each country, they still share a somewhat similarity across the globe. For what Fréger has to say on the notion behind the costumes, “It is not about being possessed by a spirit; it is about jumping voluntarily in the skin of an animal. You decide to become something else. You chose to become an animal, which is more exciting than being possessed by a demon.” Check out the images from the gallery throughout, and head here to see more of Charles Fréger’s work.