pilgrimage n : a journey to a sacred place [syn: pilgrim's journey]
- A journey made to a
sacred place, or a
- In the Muslim faith, the pilgrimage to Mecca is known as the Hajj.
- In the context of "by extension": A visit to any site revered or associated with a
- Each year we made a pilgrimage to New York City to visit the pub where we all first met.
religious journey, or one to a sacred place
In religion and spirituality, a pilgrimage is a long journey or search of great moral significance. Sometimes, it is a journey to a sacred place or shrine of importance to a person's beliefs and faith.Members of every major religion participate in pilgrimages. A person who makes such a journey is called a pilgrim.
Buddhism offers four sites of pilgrimage: the Buddha's birthplace at Kapilavastu, the site where he attained Enlightenment Bodh Gaya, where he first preached at Benares, and where he achieved Parinirvana at Kusinagara.
The Holy Land acts as a focal point for the pilgrimages of many religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá'í Faith.
In the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the visitation of certain ancient cult-centers was repressed in the 7th century BCE, when the worship was restricted to YHWH at the temple in Jerusalem. In Syria, the shrine of Astarte at the headwater spring of the river Adonis survived until it was destroyed by order of Emperor Constantine in the 4th century.
In mainland Greece, a stream of individuals made their way to Delphi or the oracle of Zeus at Dodona, and once every four years, at the period of the Olympic games, the temple of Zeus at Olympia formed the goal of swarms of pilgrims from every part of the Hellenic world. When Alexander the Great reached Egypt, he put his whole vast enterprise on hold, while he made his way with a small band deep into the Libyan desert, to consult the oracle of Ammun. During the imperium of his Ptolemaic heirs, the shrine of Isis at Philae received many votive inscriptions from Greeks on behalf of their kindred far away at home.
Although a pilgrimage is normally viewed in the context of religion, the personality cults cultivated by communist leaders ironically gave birth to pilgrimages of their own. Prior to the demise of the USSR in 1991, a visit to Lenin's Mausoleum in Red Square, Moscow can be said to have had all the characteristics exhibiting a pilgrimage — for Communists. This type of pilgrimage to a personality cult is still evident today on people who pay visits of homage to Mao Zedong, Kim Il Sung, and Ho Chi Minh.
Effects on tradePilgrims contributed an important element to long-distance trade before the modern era, and brought prosperity to successful pilgrimage sites, an economic phenomenon unequalled until the tourist trade of the 20th century. Encouraging pilgrims was a motivation for assembling (and sometimes fabricating) relics and for writing hagiographies of local saints, filled with inspiring accounts of miracle cures. Lourdes and other modern pilgrimage sites keep this spirit alive.
Pilgrimage centres in various times and cultures
AntiquityMany ancient religions had holy sites, temples and groves, where pilgrimages were made.
Bahá'í FaithBahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, decreed pilgrimage to two places in his book of laws, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas: the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad, Iraq, and the House of the Báb in Shiraz, Iran. He, later, prescribed specific rites for each of these pilgrimages in two other religious texts. Later, `Abdu'l-Bahá designated the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji, Israel as a site of pilgrimage, for which there are no rites.
Since Bahá'ís do not have access to the original two places designated as sites for pilgrimage, Bahá'í pilgrimage currently consists of visiting the holy places in Haifa, Acre, and Bahjí at the Bahá'í World Centre in Northwest Israel. Bahá'ís can apply to join an organized nine-day pilgrimage where they are taken to visit the various holy sites, or attend a shorter three-day pilgrimage.
Other pilgrimage places in India and Nepal connected to the life of Gautama Buddha are: Savatthi, Pataliputta, Nalanda, Gaya, Vesali, Sankasia, Kapilavastu, Kosambi, Rajagaha, Varanasi.
Other famous places for buddhist pilgrimage in various countries include:
- India: Sanchi, Ellora, Ajanta.
- Thailand: Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Doi Suthep.
- Tibet: Lhasa (traditional home of the Dalai Lama), Mount Kailash, Lake Nam-tso.
- Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Silver Pagoda.
- Sri Lanka: Polonnaruwa, Temple of the Tooth (Kandy), Anuradhapura.
- Laos: Luang Prabang.
- Myanmar: Bagan, Sagaing Hill.
- Nepal: Bodhnath, Swayambhunath.
- Indonesia: Borobudur.
- China: Yung-kang, Lung-men caves. The Four Sacred Mountains
- Japan: Kyoto, Nara, Kumano.
Pilgrimages were first made to sites connected with the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Surviving descriptions of Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land date from the 4th century, when pilgrimage was encouraged by church fathers like Saint Jerome. Pilgrimages also began to be made to Rome and other sites associated with the Apostles, Saints and Christian martyrs, as well as to places where there have been apparitions of the Virgin Mary. The crusades to the holy land were considered to be mass armed pilgrimages.
The second largest single pilgrimage in the history of Christendom was to the Funeral of Pope John Paul II after his death on April 2, 2005. An estimated four million people travelled to Vatican City, in addition to the almost three million people already living in Rome, to see the body of Pope John Paul II lie in state.
World Youth Day is a major Catholic Pilgrimage, specifically for people aged 16-35. It is held internationally every 2-3 years. In 2005, young Catholics visited Cologne, Germany. In 1995, the largest gathering of all time was to World Youth Day in Manila, Philippines, where four million people from all over the world attended.
The major Christian pilgrimages are to:
- The Holy Land, location of many events in the Old Testament and New Testament:
- Rome on roads such as the Via Francigena. Site of the deaths of Saint Peter, Saint Paul and other early martyrs. Location of relics of various saints, relics of the Passion, important churches and headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.
- Constantinople (today Istanbul, Turkey). Former capital of the Byzantine Empire and the see of one of the five ancient Patriarchates and first among equals among the Patriarchs of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Hagia Sophia, former cathedral and burial place of many Ecumenical Patriarchs.
- Lourdes, France. Apparition of the Virgin Mary. The second most visited Christian pilgrimage site after Rome.
- Santiago de Compostela in Galicia (Spain) on the Way of St James (Galician: O Camiño de Santiago). This famous medieval pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James is still popular today.
- Fátima in Portugal. Our Lady of Fatima is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She appeared to three shepherd children at Fátima on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917.
Other important Christian pilgrimage sites
- Assisi, Italy, St. Francis of Assisi and St Clare, relics
- Ávila, Spain, St Theresa of Avila, relics
- Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza, Spain. It's reputed to be the first church dedicated to Mary in history.
- Basilica of the Vierzehnheiligen, Germany.
- Canterbury Cathedral associated with Saint Thomas Becket.
- Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, Canada in honour of Our Lady of the Cape.
- Caravaca de la Cruz, Region of Murcia, Spain
- Carey, Ohio to the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation. Catholic pilgrims from the Middle East journey here to mark the Feast of the Assumption.
- Cathedral of Chartres, France.
- Miercurea Ciuc, Transylvania, Romania. Whit Sunday gathering of (mostly ethnic Hungarian) Catholics.
- Croagh Patrick, Ireland. Saint Patrick.
- Conques, France
- Cologne, Germany. Relics of the Three Magi.
- Częstochowa, Poland.Black Madonna of Częstochowa is housed permanently in theJasna Góra Monastery
- Etchmiadzin (Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin), Armenia. Etchmiadzin is the spiritual and administrative centre of the Armenian Apostolic Church
- Glastonbury, England. St Joseph of Arimathea.
- Goa, India. St. Francis Xavier
- Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
- House of the Virgin Mary, Turkey. Pope John-Paul II declared the Shrine of Virgin Mary as a pilgrimage place for Christians.
- Issoudun, France. Notre-Dame du Sacré-Coeur
- Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Poland
- Kapel in 't Zand, Limburg
- Kevelaer, Germany
- Knock, Ireland
- Lakefield, Ontario, Canada
- La Salette, France, Our Lady of La Salette
- Licheń Stary, Sanctuary of Our Lady of Licheń
- Lisieux, France. Saint Therese of Lisieux, burial place.
- Lourdes, France. Apparition of the Virgin Mary. Place of healing.
- Mariazell, Austria. Marian Shrine to Austria and Hungary
- Međugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Apparitions of the Virgin Mary at the present.
- Montserrat, Catalonia, Spain. The Virgin of Montserrat is housed permanently in the monastery of Santa María de Montserrat.
- Mount Athos, Greece. Orthodox monastic centre.
- Mount Nebo, Jordan. Traditional site of the death of Moses.
- Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt, traditional site of the Burning Bush and the reception of the Ten Commandments has been commemorated since the time of Constantine the Great
- Nidaros, Trondheim, Norway. Shrine of St. Olav. 4th most visited pilgrimage site in Middle Ages.
- Padua, Italy, St Anthony, relics
- Paris (Sacred-Heart Basilica Basilica of the Sacré Cœur; and Saint Catherine Labouré)
- Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland
- Sacri Monti, Italy. The Sacred Mountains of Piedmont and Lombardy.
- San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, St Pio from Pietrelcina
- Guadalupe, Spain
- Santo Toribio de Liébana, Cantabria, Spain
- El Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico, USA
- Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City. Apparition of the Virgin Mary.
- St. Andrews, Scotland, it is said that Saint Andrew was given, by God, directions to the location of St. Andrews
- St. Patrick's Purgatory, Donegal, Ireland
- St. Thomas Mount, India. Place where St. Thomas was martyred.
- Taizé Community, France, modern monastery that actively encourages pilgrimages to it
- Święta Lipka, Poland
- Trondheim, Norway. Nidaros Cathedral, shrine of St. Olav.
- Turin, Italy. Holy Shroud.
- Vatican City, Italy
- Vailankanni, India. 16th-century Marian apparition site.
- Walsingham, England. Virgin Mary apparition site.
- Wittenberg, Germany. Church of Martin Luther and centre of the Protestant Reformation.
- Žemaičių Kalvarija, Samogitia, Lithuania.
Hindus are required to undertake pilgrimages during their lifetime. Most Hindus who can afford to go on such journeys travel to numerous sites described in the following list.
Hindu Pilgrimage Sites
- Bhavani, Erode
- Kukke Subramanya
- Mandher Devi temple in Mandhradevi
- Mount Kailash
- Sivagiri, Kerala
- Malai Mandir
- Vaishno Devi
- Dayaram Ashram, Nanadiya, Junagadh
The last four sites in the list together comprise the Chardham, or four holy pilgrimage destinations. It is believed that travelling to these places leads to moksha, the release from samsara (cycle of rebirths). The holy places of pilgrimage for the Shaktism sect of Hinduism are the Shakti peethas (Temples of Shakti).
The pilgrimage to Mecca – the Hajj – is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It should be attempted at least once in the lifetime of all able-bodied Muslims who can afford to do so. It is the most important of all Muslim Pilgrimages.
Many Muslims also undergo ziyarat, which is a pilgrimage to sites associated with the prophet Muhammad, his companions, or other venerated figures in Islamic history, such as Shi'a imams or Sufi saints. Sites of pilgrimage include mosques, graves, battlefields, mountains, and caves.
Local Pilgrimage traditions - those undertaken as ziarah visits to local graves, are also found throughout Muslim countries. In some countries, the grave sites of heroes have very strong ziyarah traditions as visiting the graves at auspicious times is a display of national and community identity. Some traditions within Islam have negative attitudes towards grave visiting.
The third religiously sanctioned pilgrimage for Muslims is to the Al Quds mount in Jerusalem which hosts Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
Another important place for Muslims are the city of Medina, the second holiest place in Islam, in Saudi Arabia, where Muhammad rests, in Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (the Mosque of the Prophet); and the district of Eyüp in Istanbul (fourth holiest place) is where Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (Turkish: Eyüp Sultan), the standard-bearer of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, died during the Arab assault on Constantinople in 670.
JudaismSee related article Three pilgrim festivals.
Within Judaism, the Temple in Jerusalem was the center of the Jewish religion, until its destruction in 70 AD, and all who were able were under obligation to visit and offer sacrifices known as the korbanot, particularly during the Jewish holidays in Jerusalem.
Following the destruction of the Second Temple and the onset of the diaspora, the centrality of pilgrimage to Jerusalem in Judaism was discontinued. In its place came prayers and rituals hoping for a return to Zion and the accompanying restoration of regular pilgrimages (see Jerusalem, Jews and Judaism).
Until recent centuries, pilgrimage has been a fairly difficult and arduous adventure. But now, Jews from many countries make periodic pilgrimages to the holy sites of their religion.
The western retaining wall of the original temple, known as the Wailing Wall, or Western Wall remains in the Old City of Jerusalem and this has been the most sacred site for religious Jews. Pilgrimage to this area was off-limits from 1948 to 1967, when East Jerusalem was controlled by Jordan.
Some Reform and Conservative Jews who no longer consider themselves exiles, still enjoy visiting Israel even if it is not an official "pilgrimage."
Secular pilgrimageIn modern usage, the terms pilgrim and pilgrimage can also have a somewhat devalued meaning as they are often applied in a secular context. For example, fans of Elvis Presley may choose to visit his home, Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee. Similarly one may refer to a cultural center such as Venice as a "tourist Mecca".
CommunismIn a number of Communist contries, secular pilgrimages were established as an "antidote" to religious pilgrimages, the most famous of which are:
- al-Naqar, Umar. 1972. The Pilgrimage Tradition in West Africa. Khartoum: Khartoum University Press. [includes a map 'African Pilgrimage Routes to Mecca, ca. 1300-1900']
- Coleman, Simon and John Elsner (1995), Pilgrimage: Past and Present in the World Religions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- Coleman, Simon & John Eade (eds) (2005), Reframing Pilgrimage. Cultures in Motion. London: Routledge.
- Jackowski, Antoni. 1998. Pielgrzymowanie [Pilgrimage]. Wroclaw: Wydawnictwo Dolnoslaskie.
- Margry, Peter Jan (ed.) (2008), Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World. New Itineraries into the Sacred. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
- Sumption, Jonathan. 2002. Pilgrimage: An Image of Mediaeval Religion. London: Faber and Faber Ltd.
- Wolfe, Michael (ed.). 1997. One Thousands Roads to Mecca. New York: Grove Press.
- Zarnecki, George (1985), The Monastic World: The Contributions of The Orders. pp. 36-66, in Evans, Joan (ed.). 1985. The Flowering of the Middle Ages. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd.
- Kerschbaum & Gattinger, Via Francigena - DVD- Documentation, of a modern pilgrimage to Rome, ISBN 3200005009, Verlag EUROVIA, Vienna 2005
- Pilgrims and Pilgrimage - An Online Teaching and Learning Resource
- Eurovia-Association for the Estblishment of European Pilgimage Routes
- The official site of the Santiago de Compostela cathedral
- How to be a pilgrim General Theory & Practice
- [http://www.catholic.travel/ Catholic pilgrimages]
- Buddhist Pilgrimage in India
- Buddhist Pilgrimage in Sri Lanka
- The Canadian Company of Pilgrims A non-profit group providing advice to pilgrims of the way of Saint James
- Wiki on European pilgrimages
- Pilgrim forum on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
- Sacred Destinations Sacred sites and pilgrimages.
- French pilgrimage routes from 1000 CE till 1500 CE
- Spanish pilgrimage routes from 900 CE till 2000 CE
- From Jerusalem to Sacred Mounts History of the nine Sacri Monti included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Pilgrimages and Cultural Heritage programmes in Romania, Europe
- VEDA: Holy Places
- Walking the Camino de Santiago, A Guide The Camino de Santiago has more than 100,000 pilgrims walking the various paths each year.
- Images of pilgrimages at fotolia.de (Royalty-Free)
- Italian Lakes Pilgrimage. The nine Sacro Monte of the Italian lakes were developed for pilgrims in the 15th and 16th centuries as an alternative to traveling to the holy land.
- Not for profit organisation, mapping pilgrimage routes and promoting eco-friendly travel
- Detailed accounts of pilgrimages to Santiago and Rome on horseback
- Account of pilgrimage to Nidaros (Trondheim) in Norway on Olav's Way. With useful page about kit.
- Information and Maps of the UNESCO World Heritage Registered Pilgrimage to Kumano in Japan.
pilgrimage in Czech: Pouť
pilgrimage in Welsh: Pererindod
pilgrimage in Danish: Pilgrimsfærd
pilgrimage in German: Wallfahrt
pilgrimage in Estonian: Palverännak
pilgrimage in Spanish: Peregrinación
pilgrimage in Esperanto: Pilgrimado
pilgrimage in Persian: زیارت
pilgrimage in French: Pèlerinage
pilgrimage in Korean: 성지 순례
pilgrimage in Hindi: तीर्थ
pilgrimage in Indonesian: Ziarah
pilgrimage in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Pelegrinage
pilgrimage in Italian: Pellegrinaggio
pilgrimage in Hebrew: עלייה לרגל
pilgrimage in Latin: Peregrinatio
pilgrimage in Limburgan: Baevaart
pilgrimage in Dutch: Bedevaart
pilgrimage in Japanese: 巡礼
pilgrimage in Narom: Pèlerinnage
pilgrimage in Polish: Pielgrzymka
pilgrimage in Portuguese: Peregrinação
pilgrimage in Russian: Паломничество
pilgrimage in Simple English: Pilgrimage
pilgrimage in Slovenian: Romanje
pilgrimage in Serbian: Ходочашће
pilgrimage in Finnish: Pyhiinvaellus
pilgrimage in Swedish: Pilgrimsfärd
pilgrimage in Chinese: 朝聖
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