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Monday, 3 July 2017

Spot the Frippet: pilgrim.

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, says RL Stevenson, and travelling hopefully is what pilgrimage is all about.

A pilgrim will be hoping for a better view of his God - or one of his other heroes - and he will almost certainly also be hoping for a better view of himself, because of course you can't see much from the middle of a thicket.

So how do you spot a pilgrim?

Well, it used to be from the badges in his hat (they were the mediaeval equivalent of the got-the-T-shirt thing). Pilgrims also used traditionally to come with a staff and a broad flat hat.

upload.wikimedia.org wikipedia commons 1 1e Sant_Jaume_Pelegr%C3%AD,_Joan_Reixach,_esgl%C3%A9sia_parroquial_de_la_Pobla_de_Vallbona.JPG:
Sant Jaume Pelegri

But it's always been quite acceptable to wear your own clothes:

File:Chaucer-canterburytales-manoflaw.jpg
Man of law from the Canterbury Tales

So in that case how can we spot a pilgrim?

Well, they often come in coach-loads, and their destination might be a cathedral or a concert or a jam factory or a mountain or a sports stadium or a museum. The essential thing is that the object of the journey is spiritual enlargement.

Spiritual enlargement...well, there's a challenge and an opportunity for us all.

In times gone past pilgrims sometimes used to put pebbles in their shoes as a mortification. You can certainly do that if you like.

But I'd recommend taking them out again before you set out.

Spot the Frippet: pilgrim. This word comes from the Provençal pelegrin, from the Latin peregrīnus, foreign, from per, through, plus ager, which means field or land.



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