HUNDREDS pagans will descend on Southampton to celebrate their religion.

Around 600 people are expected to attend the Pagan Pride South day which will feature a parade through town, belly dancing and an Anglo Saxon historical reconstruction.

It’s the third event after one in 2016 and another last year.

Last year’s family day featured drummers, musicians and performers, as well as a range of stalls selling everything from clothing to tarot readings.

This year the parade through the city centre will start at 10am – before witches, heathens and druids head to Palmerston Park for live bands and more than 50 stalls.

Co-director Jonathan Argento – who runs the event with his partner Becky Anderson-Davis – said the event was open to all and as a concept is “pretty global”.

The former religion and philosophy teacher said: “As a concept Pagan Pride is pretty global.

“This event is getting bigger and bigger. Eclectic is a good word to describe it.

“There is still a lot of misinformation about pagans.

“People think we worship the devil and perform blood sacrifices.

“We don’t believe in the devil and I’m a vegetarian so I wouldn’t dream of harming anything.

“It’s not so much a protest as a celebration.”

He added that when people explore more about paganism they often “find it sums them up quite nicely”.

“You don’t have to believe in a great deal other than in people and the planet to be a pagan.

“Christianity has a need for a creative god who is separate from humanity – hence the need for Jesus. Pagans believe the sacred dwells in everything that’s alive.

“Everything that is alive is divine and it’s all connected.”

The event takes place on August 19 with the party running from 11am to 6pm in Palmerston Park.