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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pilgrim by Gheorghe Tattarescu.
In the United States the word "Pilgrims" usually refers to the English settlers of New England, who celebrated the "First Thanksgiving" with the Native Americans in 1621.

A pilgrim (lat. peregrinus) is one who undertakes a pilgrimage, literally 'far afield'. This is traditionally a visit to a place of some religious or historic significance; often a considerable distance is traveled. Examples include a Christian or Jew visiting Jerusalem or a Muslim visiting Mecca.

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Religious pilgrims

An Indian pilgrim in Gangasagar in West Bengal, India

Pilgrims and the making of pilgrimages are common in many religions, including the faiths in ancient Egypt, Persia in the Mithraic period, India, China, and Japan. The Greek and Roman customs of consulting the gods at local oracles, such as those at Dodona or Delphi, both in Greece, are widely known. In Greece, pilgrimages could either be personal or state-sponsored.[1]

In the early period of Hebrew history, pilgrims traveled to Shiloh, Dan, Bethel, and eventually Jerusalem, a practice followed by other Abrahamic religions. The great Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca (now in Saudi Arabia), is obligatory for every able Muslim. Other Islamic devotional pilgrimages, particularly to the tombs of Shia Imams or Sufi saintsWhile religious pilgrims usually travel toward a specific destination, a physical location is not a necessity. One group of pilgrims in early Celtic Christianity were the Peregrinari Pro Christ, (Pilgrims for Christ), or "white martyrs". They left their homes to wander in the world.[2] This sort of pilgrimage was an ascetic religious practice, as the pilgrim left the security of home and the clan for an unknown destination, in complete trust of Divine Providence. These travels often resulted in the founding of new abbeys and spreading Christianity among the pagan population in Britain as well as in continental Europe.

Cultural pilgrims

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, like many fans of Elvis Presley, visited Graceland

A cultural pilgrimage, while also about personal journey, involves a secular response. Destinations for such pilgrims can include historic sites of national or cultural importance, and can be defined as places "of cultural significance: an artist's home, the location of a pivotal event or an iconic destination."[3] An example might be a baseball fan visiting Cooperstown, New York. Destinations for cultural pilgrims include examples such as Auschwitz concentration camp, Gettysburg Battlefield, the Ernest Hemingway House or even Disneyland.[3] Cultural pilgrims may also travel on religious pilgrimage routes, such as the Way of St. James, with the perspective of making it a historic or architectural tour rather than a religious experience.[4]

Secular pilgrims also exist under communist regimes. These devotional but strictly secular pilgrims visited locations such as the Mausoleum of Lenin or Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, or the Birthplace of Karl Marx. Such visits were sometimes state-sponsored.

Notable pilgrims

Pope John Paul II was known as the "pilgrim pope" for his travels.

Many national and international leaders have gone on pilgrimages for both personal and political reasons.

References

Literature

External links

Pilgrim.ogg
Traditional folk song about a pilgrim
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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Pilgrims
by Robert W. Service
Collected in Rhymes of a Red-Cross Man

Pilgrims

For oh, when the war will be over
      We'll go and we'll look for our dead;
We'll go when the bee's on the clover,
      And the plume of the poppy is red:
We'll go when the year's at its gayest,
      When meadows are laughing with flow'rs;
And there where the crosses are greyest,
      We'll seek for the cross that is ours.

For they cry to us: Friends, we are lonely,
      A-weary the night and the day;
But come in the blossom-time only,
      Come when our graves will be gay:
When daffodils all are a-blowing,
      And larks are a-thrilling the skies,
Oh, come with the hearts of you glowing,
      And the joy of the Spring in your eyes.

But never, oh, never come sighing,
      For ours was the Splendid Release;
And oh, but 'twas joy in the dying
      To know we were winning you Peace!
So come when the valleys are sheening,
      And fledged with the promise of grain;
And here where our graves will be greening,
      Just smile and be happy again.

And so, when the war will be over,
      We'll seek for the Wonderful One;
And maiden will look for her lover,
      And mother will look for her son;
And there will be end to our grieving,
      And gladness will gleam over loss,
As — glory beyond all believing!
      We point . . . to a name on a cross.


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also pilgrims

English

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Proper noun

Pilgrims

  1. Plural form of Pilgrim.
  2. The early settlers of the Plymouth Colony who left for the New World in early 17th century. Usually used in plural.

Simple English

The Pilgrims is the name for the early settlers of the Plymouth Colony in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts. They traveled from England on a ship called The Mayflower. The Pilgrims left England because of religious differences with the Church of England.


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