Based on official church and public-sector documents and texts related to the Fjord Pilgrim Route, we discuss how a process of Caminoization is expressed in Norway, both in relation to how this new invention relates to the medieval pilgrimage culture of the country, and how it inspires developments in the so-called pilgrimage renaissance in modern, Protestant Norway. The new construction of the Fjord Route demonstrates not only the Camino’s influence on contemporary pilgrimage in Europe, but also its scope for innovation in a broad field that encompasses state, church, country, and tourist organization actors. Focusing on the role of history and heritage in the Fjord Pilgrim Route, we argue that Caminoization, traditionalization, and heritagization are key factors that affected the establishment of the new Fjord Route and Norwegian pilgrim culture.
In an examination of contemporary Pagan pilgrimage in Ireland, based on longitudinal ethnographic research, this article identifies and analyzes different cultural processes at work, focusing on the sacralization of the landscape through ritualization and re-storying. Correlations and differences between modern Pagan pilgrimage and the popular Roman Catholic pilgrimage tradition are identified since the way in which modern Pagan pilgrimage manifests is most similar to traditional Catholic site-specific pilgrimage. Contemporary Pagan activities and discourses are contextualized within Irish history and within other meaningful layers constructed over time in relation to Ireland’s sacred landscape. Counterheritagization processes and the contestation of meanings connected to pilgrimage sites is discussed as regards the process of Celticization in how a Celtic past is reactivated in the present by journeying to, and engaging with, significantly reclaimed and “re-storied” sites. For this new religious movement, the land itself plays a vital role as a dynamic and active space.
The Norwegian St. Olav Ways are currently the largest Northern European project re-institutionalizing pilgrimage as cultural heritage, providing a new framework for vernacular religious practices to a wide audience. In this article we approach the current pilgrimage revival in Northern Europe as part of a trend toward a heritagization of religion that allows new religious self-understandings to emerge. We analyze pilgrim guidebooks to the St. Olav Ways with regard to their narrative scripts, detailing how they can create expectations, inform the pilgrims’ conduct, and direct their attention toward a history that translates into a heritage. Based on a corpus of published pilgrim journals and diaries, we argue that the guidebooks instruct a process of interpretive drift, which influence the pilgrims toward embracing and embodying a new role within the religious field. The guidebooks invite the pilgrims to take on the role of heirs to a medieval European tradition.
Two parallel, interrelated waves of interest in pilgrimage on foot has surged in Sweden since the 1990s: participation in the international Camino pilgrimage and a vernacular pilgrimage movement in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden. In this article, the interconnections between the two strands are explored. In both settings, attention is paid primarily to walking itself, illustrating a key facet of Caminoization: the stress on the journey rather than the destination. It is argued here that the pilgrimage walks in the Church of Sweden are modeled on a Caminoized notion of pilgrimage, built into the Swedish word pilgrimsvandring. This notion of pilgrimage functions as an open category that can connect to both religious heritages and social and cultural trends in new ways. A key outcome of the spread of Caminoized pilgrimage is the rise of a pilgrim spirituality that celebrates simplicity and communing with nature, and carries with it a cultural critique of postindustrial society, further accentuated in the pilgrimage movement’s recent turn to ecology and climate action.
This article is the first attempt at mapping the pilgrimage landscape in contemporary Estonia, reputedly one of the most secularized countries in Europe. Based on fieldwork on three case studies — the Estonian Society of the Friends of the Camino de Santiago, the Pirita-Vastseliina pilgrim trail, and the “Mobile Congregation” — we have identified three distinctive features that shape the Estonian pilgrimage scene. The processes of Caminoization and heritagization characterize pilgrimage on a European scale, while the phenomenon that we call “bridging” has a more local flavor. Bridging refers to using pilgrimage to create connections between the Church (of any Christian denomination) and “secular” people. Historically a Christian practice, pilgrimage has transformed into something much more ambiguous. Thus, people often perceive pilgrimage as religion-related but still inherently secular. As the relationships between institutionalized religion and the vernacular world of beliefs and practices are multivalent, there is evidence of an ongoing “re-Christianization” of pilgrimage.