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Migration A–Z


  1. William H. Swatos, Jr.

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm414

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Swatos,, W. H. 2013. Pilgrimage. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


A good case can be made that pilgrimage and sacrifice stand as two of the most primitive forms of religious action, and in many cases they were intentionally combined – that is, one made a journey to a site in order to offer a sacrifice there and/or pilgrimage itself was considered a form of sacrifice. Pilgrimage is still recognized as an important religious act in at least some branches of all major world religions, and it is enjoined explicitly by the founders of Islam and Buddhism. In this sense, pilgrimage has a well-established place in the history of travel and migration – and one that has grown significantly in numbers during the second half of the 20th century and continues into the present, inasmuch as air travel has allowed far greater numbers to make a pilgrimage in a considerably shorter period of time. The purported “decline of religion” notwithstanding, more and more people are making pilgrimage to more and more sites, and religious authorities are themselves not only taking note of this but also working to facilitate the process by restoring historic shrines and creating what are in effect tour routes around Europe, for example, by “bundling” a series of sites into a pilgrimage itinerary that can be completed in time frames consistent with vacation periods of different lengths, leading also to the phenomenon of “religious tourism.”


  • faith;
  • ideology;
  • globalization;
  • transnationalism