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Do you believe that visiting the gravesite of a loved one or driving past a childhood home is the equivalent of a pilgrimage?

5 thoughts on “Pilgrimages

  1. The relevant definitions of “pilgrimage” I’ve found on are (1) “a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion” and (2) “any long journey, esp. one undertaken as a quest or for a votive purpose, as to pay homage.”

    As to (1) I assume this trip isn’t made literally as an act of religious devotion. As to (2) it seems to me that visiting the grave of a family member or the site of important family events is probably for the purpose of paying some kind of homage (especially in the case of the grave), though perhaps it may also be just for the sake of seeking and searching one’s memories.

    When I visit the grave of a family member it is to pay some special respect or teach my children to remember with respect. When I visit a former family home it is to reflect on my memories and on the changes in my life.

  2. Somehow my reference got left out—perhaps just my typing error. I was quoting definitions found at dictionary.com

  3. I agree, ltbugaf. Visiting grave sites or childhood homes (and I have a lot of them) has never really had any religious significance to me. Certainly they help me reflect on memories.

    Last summer, we stopped by my mum’s childhood home, which had since been demolished by controlled fire. My children saw it a few years previously, but they were too young to remember it.

    Anyhow, while we were in my mum’s hometown, we stopped by her father’s grave site. I attend the funeral and interment in 1990. We had been close and so the grave site has some real significance to me.

    I also did all his temple work myself, so I suppose in a way going to his grave site does have some religious significance to me.

  4. In a church that claims knowing one’s ancestors as a religious observance, I can see a grave having a particularly strong religious element. I think it would depend heavily on the intention. Like, are you stopping by the grave or home because it’s en route to some National Park or is it the goal itself?

    If it is the goal, I think there’s elements of pilgrimage. But then, I just really wish I were Catholic…

  5. I am not sure. If I had to travel a great distance then it would feel like a pilgrimage to me, but since most of my family is buried here in Dallas it feels more like a Sunday Drive.

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