04 Aug Enter the Pilgrim

Spain is a religious country, but it wasn’t always Christian. For hundreds of years leading up to around 1000 BC, Spain was predominantly Muslim. A strong Arab influence (think Granada) ruled the day. During this time Judaism was also heavily present. Enter the Middle Ages, a pushy king in a Spanish province, and the Bible being mass produced for the first time. Christianity rose above the other widely held beliefs, and has remained the most popular to this day. Consequently, pilgrimage is still a strongly held tradition across the country and thus we present: Panrimo's Top 5 Spanish Pilgrimages 5. La Semana Santa, Holy Week [caption id="attachment_962" align="aligncenter" width="2288"] Bring your own mask.[/caption] http://www.euroclubschools.org/userimages/Domingo_de_ramos_astorga.jpg Arguably the most important holiday in Spain, Spaniards take a week to remember the trial, deception of his friends, and suffering of Jesus Christ. Processions occur with actors walking the streets, whipping a man carrying a cross. It can get fairly intense. 4. Dia de Todos los Santos, All Saints Day [caption id="attachment_963" align="aligncenter" width="350"] Flower shops seriously love this day.[/caption] http://elgranitodearenadeishtar.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/cementerio_989711207.jpg The 1st of each November, Spaniards take time to remember loved ones who have died. Families walk to graveyards to place flowers and gifts at sites. It is a very community-oriented affair. 3. The Way of St. James, or El Camino de Santiago [caption id="attachment_964" align="aligncenter" width="800"] C'mon kids! Only 1 month of walking to go![/caption] http://frescotours.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/cd2181.jpg St. James was one of Jesus’ 12 apostles, and the first Christian martyr. His body was taken from Jerusalem and across Spain...

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06 Oct Rubbing Buddha’s belly for a long life in the trees

[caption id="attachment_2277" align="alignnone" width="660"] So happy! So enlightened![/caption] Every few months, while growing up, my family and I would make a pilgrimage after 11 a.m. church service to Shanghai Gardens. It was a local Chinese restaurant in front of the parking lot of a grocery store—or rather in the parking lot, the building an oasis surrounded by cement. Sunday lunches at Shanghai Gardens became something to look forward to. I daydreamed of my impending plate of cashews, chicken and broccoli during church. What I daydreamed about most, however, was rubbing Buddha’s belly. An eight-foot bronze statue of a cross-legged naked, large Chinese man sat in front of the goldfish pond in the lobby of the restaurant. My younger sister and I would run up to Buddha, rubbing his belly for good luck. “Don’t take all his good blessing, kids,” my dad would say. “You have a fortune cookie to enjoy after your meal.” What I failed to grasp but realize now was just how important Buddha is in Chinese culture. Coming in a close second are temples and trees associated with the portly fellow. Enter TanZhe Temple outside Beijing and you hardly know it is a 1700 year-old building. You can’t order a plate of sesame chicken nor receive a fortune cookie, but you immediately sense calm and peace. And that’s what Chinese temples were built for. Buddha, a real man born in 580 B.C., was a soul-searching youth full of pain, suffering and self-loathing....

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