pilgrim

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pilgrim,

one who travels to a shrine or other sacred place out of religious motives. Pilgrimages are a feature of many religions and cultures. Examples in ancient Greece were the pilgrimages to Eleusis and Delphi. Pilgrimages are well established in India (e.g., to Varanasi, or Benares, on the sacred Ganges River), in China (e.g., to Mt. Tai), and in Japan (e.g., to Uji-yamada and Taisha). The Temple at Jerusalem was the center of an annual pilgrimage of Jews at Passover. Every Muslim tries to make the pilgrimage to Mecca once in his life; this is the pilgrimage (Hajj) par excellence and has had a remarkable effect in unifying IslamIslam
, [Arab.,=submission to God], world religion founded by the Prophet Muhammad. Founded in the 7th cent., Islam is the youngest of the three monotheistic world religions (with Judaism and Christianity). An adherent to Islam is a Muslim [Arab.,=one who submits].
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. A favorite Shiite shrine is KarbalaKarbala
, city (1987 pop. 296,705), central Iraq, at the edge of the Syrian Desert. The city's trade is in religious objects, hides, wool, and dates. Karbala is the site of the tomb of the Shiite leader Husein, who was killed in the city in 680.
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. The Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Places of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth, already well established, received great impetus in the 4th cent. from the supposed finding of the True Cross by St. Helena. The CrusadesCrusades
, series of wars undertaken by European Christians between the 11th and 14th cent. to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. First Crusade
Origins

In the 7th cent., Jerusalem was taken by the caliph Umar.
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 were launched to protect this pilgrimage. In Western Europe the principal shrine is Rome, sacred to St. Peter and St. Paul and the martyrs. Since 1300 the popes have set aside holy years (see jubileejubilee
, in the Bible, a year when alienated property and land were restored, slaves were manumitted, debts were forgiven, and a general sabbatical year was observed in agriculture.
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) for special pilgrimages to Rome. Another historic shrine is Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de Compostela
or Santiago,
city (1990 pop. 91,419), A Coruña prov., NW Spain, in Galicia, on the Sar River. The city is one of the chief shrines of Christendom. There in the early 9th cent. the supposed tomb of the apostle St.
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, NW Spain; one explanation of the origin of the Chanson de Roland connects it with songs sung to entertain the Compostela pilgrims. The chief shrine of medieval England was the tomb of St. Thomas à Becket at Canterbury—its pilgrimage was immortalized by Geoffrey Chaucer. Other English pilgrimages were to Walsingham and Glastonbury. Badges to show what pilgrimages one had made were a feature of medieval dress. Thus, a palm badge symbolized the visit to the Holy Land, and its wearer was called a palmer. Modern Roman Catholic centers of pilgrimage include Rome, the Holy Land, LoretoLoreto
, town (1991 est. pop. 10,780), in the Marche, central Italy, on a hill overlooking the Adriatic Sea. It has silk industries and is a famous place of pilgrimage. According to legend, the Holy House of the Virgin in Nazareth was brought to Loreto through the air by angels
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, Compostela, MontserratMontserrat
or Monserrat
, mountain, 4,054 ft (1,236 m) high, NE Spain, rising abruptly from a plain in Catalonia, NW of Barcelona. On a narrow terrace, more than halfway up its precipitous cliffs, is a celebrated Benedictine monastery, one of the greatest religious
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 (Spain), FátimaFátima
, hamlet, W central Portugal, in Beira Litoral. At the nearby Cova da Iria is the national shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima. This became a great Roman Catholic center of pilgrimage after the six reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary to three
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, LourdesLourdes
, town (1990 pop. 16,581), Hautes-Pyrénées dept., SW France, at the foot of the Pyrénées. It is famous for its Roman Catholic shrine where Our Lady of Lourdes (Feast: Feb. 11) is believed to have repeatedly appeared (1858) to St. Bernadette.
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, Ste Anne d'Auray (see AurayAuray
, town (1990 pop. 10,323), Morbihan dept., NW France, in Brittany, on the Auray River estuary. Oysters are bred, food is canned, and furniture is manufactured. Nearby the decisive battle of the War of the Breton Succession took place (1364).
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), EinsiedelnEinsiedeln
, town (1990 pop. 10,869), Schwyz canton, E central Switzerland. Einsiedeln is the most famous pilgrimage center in Switzerland and one of the most noted in Europe. Its important Benedictine abbey, founded in the 10th cent.
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, CzęstochowaCzęstochowa
, city (1993 est. pop. 258,800), Śląskie prov., S Poland, on the Warta River. It is an important railway and industrial center, known especially for its iron and steel plant and iron-smelting works.
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, Sainte Anne de BeaupréSainte Anne de Beaupré
, village (1991 pop. 3,146), S Que., Canada, on the St. Lawrence River and NE of Quebec. It is the site of a famous shrine established in 1620 by sailors who had been shipwrecked. A chapel was built in 1658 and a large church in 1876.
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 (Quebec), and Guadalupe HidalgoGuadalupe Hidalgo
, shrine, central Mexico, in the Federal District. The basilica of Guadalupe containing the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe (feast: Dec. 12) is the focal point of the most famous pilgrimage in the Western Hemisphere.
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 (Mexico).