Although the island of Mallorca is well known for its beaches and mass tourism sector, a local pilgrimage tradition with deep roots in Catholicism is still thriving on the island; on the first weekend in August, thousands of people gather to make a nocturnal pilgrimage to a shrine at Lluc Mountain. Rather than focusing on the actual performance of the sacred journey or the culmination of its ritualised accomplishment, this case study explores the social and economic framing of the event orchestrated by actors from the local community, the church, the governmental sector, and other private and public stakeholders. The 50-kilometer-long Des Güell a Lluc a Peu event takes place in a context of voluntary engagement where local Mallorcans work together on handling the logistics and food supplies for the participants. I examine the explanations for both the success of this pilgrimage as well as the challenges that my empirical studies show that the pilgrimage is facing, by identifying the most central factors that govern its unfolding. Some of those exist between religious actions and adjacent commercial activities. Resource distribution and leadership play a role in the community that is under influence of a larger economy built by pilgrimage, from the small grocery stores to big capital market players such as the main sponsor, the Coca-Cola Company. The theoretical aspect of this pilgrimage study is inspired by Charles Taylor (2007) and his thoughts about the Age of Authenticity and the place of religion in contemporary society. It also draws on concepts about the religio-economic connections that take place on the periphery of pilgrimage and its related economic activities, as considered by Coleman and Eade (2018). I strive to identify connections between unnoticed religious, social, and material networks that are born out of the pilgrimage and distinguish how non-religious individuals link to the religious backdrop in new ways. Drawing on Coleman’s notions of pilgrimage as a ‘human activity’ in a wider sense (Coleman, 2021) this field work reflects on how and when connections in the religious and cultural field are formed. The methodology is based on ethnographic field work, qualitative interviews (Flick, 2009), and digital material, analysed through a lens of lived religion and everyday religion (Orsi, 2005, 2012; Ammerman, 2007).
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"From Palma to Lluc – The Social and Organisational Life of a Nocturnal Pilgrimage in Mallorca,"
International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage:
4, Article 4.
Available at: https://arrow.tudublin.ie/ijrtp/vol10/iss4/4