July marks the start of the school summer holidays for many people, the origins of which have long been the subject of myth. The word ‘holiday’ is derived from ‘holy day’, of which there are many in the Christian calendar.

Holy days were important parts of medieval life as they often meant time off work to observe and celebrate the festivals. The concept of going away for a holiday did exist in the past, but usually in the form of pilgrimage to other parts of the UK, or overseas.

Historically, pilgrimage was largely considered as a demonstration of piety, however, this was not always the case, with some people taking part in order to explore new places, meet new people and have fun, as many people do on holidays today. Today, many people are choosing ‘stay-cations’, rather than going away for the holidays.

Pilgrimage is about journey; a physical journey involving some effort, individually or in a group, as well as a spiritual journey. It is something you can do from home visiting local churches, natural beauties like ancient yew trees, sources of water and monuments, walking along natural paths trod for centuries.

Pilgrimage walking routes around the Diocese of Worcester are available on our website: www.cofe-worcester.org.uk/faith-and-life/spirituality-and-prayer/pilgrimage.