Dismantling Religious Boundaries by Sharing the Baraka through Pilgrimages in Lebanon

This paper will explore the way in which religious votive pilgrimages affect (and increase) the permeability of the frontiers between religions in Lebanon. In Lebanon today, the worship of saints captures the essence of Christian as well as Muslim devotion, and has done so for centuries. This paper...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Diskus
Main Author: Farra-Haddad, Nour
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2014]
In:Diskus
Year: 2013, Volume: 15, Pages: 54-73
Online Access: Volltext (Kostenfrei)
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Summary:This paper will explore the way in which religious votive pilgrimages affect (and increase) the permeability of the frontiers between religions in Lebanon. In Lebanon today, the worship of saints captures the essence of Christian as well as Muslim devotion, and has done so for centuries. This paper will particularly focus on individual votive visits to saints, which are most often shared by different communities. Popular pilgrimages have spread beyond their orthodox Christian and Muslim forms, demonstrating the people’s piety and their need to build a relationship between their daily existence, their perceived problems and ‘eternity’. In contrast with the codified religiosity of the mosque and the church, believers have developed a far less constrained religiosity, which some characterize as “popular” through the "ziyârât" (visits to religious sites, to saints). These visits and rituals show a significant degree of porousness within and between religions. Sublimation of social references is observed through shared pilgrimages; gender, social class and religion have no place in saint worship and thus do not play any role in the achievement or success of the vow. In Lebanon, saint worship and shared pilgrimages have contributed to maintaining a dialogue amongst the faithful even during some of the most difficult moments of the war. Pilgrims meet and share in a cordial atmosphere, without artifice, often far from the tension and anxiety of the Lebanese reality. Borders and boundaries between religions can disappear for the time of a visit, a ziyârâ, but once back home pilgrims can choose to recreate frontiers or to maintain the dialogue with the "other".
ISSN:0967-8948
Contains:Enthalten in: Diskus
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.18792/diskus.v15i0.10