Pagan prisoners allowed to celebrate religious festivals

Pagan prisoners will be allowed to celebrate four festivals next year which involve lactating sheep and promiscuity.

The prison service will allow them to choose four days from the eight recognised Pagan holidays. These include Imbolc, the "festival of the lactating sheep", on 1 February, marking the beginning of spring, and Beltane on 1 May, which marks the arrival of summer and is a time of unabashed promiscuity in Old Celtic traditions. Inmates may be served traditional foods, including roast boar and non-alcoholic honey mead.

The prison instruction, Religious Festival Dates for 2011, says governors and chaplains "must ensure equitable provision across the faiths". The directive adds: "The cost of food must be proportionate to the number of prisoners involved and consistent with the cost per prisoner incurred in other religious festivals for other faiths."