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Why going on a pilgrimage?

In a way, pilgrimages are as old as mankind. Being at the very base of ancient traditions still practiced and preserved by millions of people, pilgrimages are far from being the exclusive heritage of monotheistic religions –although it is also true that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have taken pilgrimages to a rather exceptional height. For these three traditions, Abraham’s departure from his homeland following a divine call is seen as the founding moment of pilgrimaging.

For Buddhism, pilgrimage is related to inner transformation and, ultimately, to enlightenment. But it also has a clear devotional dimension, as plenty of places associated with the life of Buddha (or of any other Boddhisattva) are indeed pilgrimage sites. Even though most holy places are related to the life of Siddharta Gautama, other temples, pagodas and mountains are instead related to the path of light, or to the lives of many other Buddhist patriarchs, whether in India, China, or Japan.

For some traditions, pilgrimage is a religious duty –and not a personal choice. It is the case in some strands of Orthodox Judaism (Shalosh Regalim), in some (main) Islamic traditions (Hajj) and in Hinduism (Char Dham). In other traditions, going on a pilgrimage is seen a sign of devotion –and as a highly recommended practice in spiritual life.

Christianity has taken the tradition of going on a pilgrimage to rather unique levels. Starting as early as in the 4th century, Christian pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Rome helped shape the Europe we know today. In the Americas, places like Guadalupe, Luján, or Aparecida draw crowds of people in, year after year.

But pilgrimages are not just a religious matter. Millions of people visit and walk the same trails their ancestors once went through, looking for their own historical, familiar, and cultural roots, in search of both personal, spiritual, and social growth. The enriching experience of setting out on a pilgrimage fascinates people today as much as it did in the very dawn of time.

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  • Beto
    Posted March 21, 2024 at 8:22 am


    Sra Inmaculada Álvarez,

    Estoy a punto para peregrinar 2 meses en Japón “espiritual” ..
    Ha/s pensado hacer o escribir algo?

    Otra ruta peregrina que me interesa y no encuentro es la de los caminos/rutas de San Saulo el de Tarso…

    Me podrías facilitar enlaces y/o características de todo ello?


    albert vallory ⚜️
    (beto = ベト)

    • Post Author
      Team Pilgrimaps
      Posted March 22, 2024 at 8:09 am

      Gracias por tu interés Albert. Estamos de hecho trazando el mapa del primer viaje de san Pablo en Turquía, de momento tienes información de los lugares de la ruta:
      Sobre el Japón, estamos trabajando información sobre una ruta, la Kumano Kodo en la Prefectura de Wakayama. Pronto esperamos poder ofrecer más información.
      Un saludo y buen camino


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