Accepted Paper:

Pilgrimage as heritage: the Norwegian way  


Torunn Selberg (University of Bergen)

Paper short abstract:

Since the turn of the century pilgrimage has grown steadily in Norway after a break of several hundreds of years. Three medieval pilgrimages have been revived, but the focus is very much on the roads and the walking, placed within a heritage discourse. The paper will discuss this connection.

Paper long abstract:

Since the turn of the century, pilgrimage has been growing steadily in Norway, after a break of several hundreds of years following the Reformation when pilgrimage was forbidden. Three Norwegian pilgrimages from Catholic medieval times have now been revitalised, and are to a certain extent in competition with each other. However, in the Norwegian context much attention is given to the roads or the pilgrims' ways, and also to pilgrimage as something that has to be done walking on your own feet towards the site of the pilgrimage. The walks are often referred to as walking in the footsteps of our forefathers and this can be connected to how these roads are very much considered heritage in a Norwegian context.

The stress on continuity and tradition are central in spite (or because?) of the break of several hundreds of years. The paper will discuss why the heritage/tradition references are so important, and why the journey occupies such a big place even at the expense of the pilgrimage sites themselves. References to heritage are also influential in pilgrims' personal narratives and I will employ personal narratives from pilgrims published in various Norwegian pilgrimage fraternities' Internet sites.

Panel Reli001
Walking back to happiness? Protestant pilgrimage in relation to utopias, realities and heritages