TRANSPLANTING PILGRIMAGE TRADITIONS IN THE AMERICAS

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Abstract

ABSTRACT. Transplanting pilgrimage traditions, or the process of remaking the collective self in sacred places, requires new sacred places as worthy destinations. As people migrate from the lands where sacred places developed to those where such places may become only a distant memory, many communities attempt to recover their pilgrimage tradition by co-opting sacred sites of host communities, maintaining links to their homeland, or re-creating sacred sites in the lands of resettlement through replication, (re)recognition, creating movable rituals, celebrating sites of sacred embodiment, and ritual historicizing. Examples taken primarily from Catholic and Hindu experiences in the Western Hemisphere illustrate this preliminary typology. Transplanting pilgrimage traditions may be viewed as anchoring our individual, existential quests to fleeting ships of “collective selfhood.”

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