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A Study of the Christian Pilgrimage to the Holy Land And the Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca Submitted by Prepared for SSC 231 Cultural Conflict and Human Solidarity University College Utrecht May 2001 Introduction A French folklorist and ethnographer Arnold Van Gennep 1908-1960 gave us the first clues about how ancient and tribal societies conceptualized and symbolized the transitions men have to make between states a statuses He demonstrated that all rites of passage are marked by three phases separation limen or margin and aggregation By identifying liminality Van Gennep discovered a major innovative transformative dimension of the social He is credited for paving the way for future studies of all processes of spatiotemporal social or individual change Various researchers have studied the study focus of this paper the pilgrimage yet Van Gennep led us to recognizing the significance in such cultural religious behavior The two religious pilgrimages to be discussed in this paper are both the Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land and the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca Although these religions differ they are none the less the two largest religions in the world and both take part in pilgrimages which demonstrate how close the two religions may be in their general beliefs and actions Moreover the pilgrimage ultimately serves as a channel for communitas and brings people to an end goal after a journey which highly represents life The end goal for both religions is salvation from their almighty God Because Christianity is very familiar in the West I will use it as a starting block for comparisons To begin with we should grasp an underlying image and idea of the pilgrimage Firstly there is an undoubtedly initiatory quality in the pilgrimage A pilgrim enters into a new deeper level of existence than he has previously known Furthermore the pilgrims goal is salvation or release from the
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