tourism industry (a major contributor to the expansion of the service sector). Many shrines have adapted very successfully to technological change and even in the European region, where engagement in Christian beliefs and practices has declined, especially
The Patronage of Lao Buddhism and the Reconstruction of Relic Shrines and Temples in Colonial French Indochina
When in 2004 I carried out fieldwork in the Lao capital of Vientiane, the temple to which I was assigned for my research and ordination as a monk was one that is located close to the That Luang, the largest and most important Buddhist relic shrine
Contemporary Transformations in Albanian Bektashism: The Case of Sari Saltik Teqe in Kruja
This article presents one of the many faces of contemporary Islam in the Balkans, that of the Bektashi community in Albania, and specifically the Sari Saltik teqe (sanctuary) on Kruja mountain. In so doing, it sheds light on the role of religion in 'post-atheist' Albania, while taking into account major changes to the religious landscape in the post-communist, and arguably post-transformation context. The essay ethnographically examines the challenges posed by societal changes for the Kruja teqe, which is undergoing its own micro-scale technological revolution in the form of a newly constructed asphalt road to the top of the mountain, which will likely have far-reaching consequences for the shrine and the whole local community. The essay thus illustrates how Albanian society has become entangled with the turbulent processes of modernisation, increased mobility and the globalising world.
praying to S. Vittorio, who also helped those suffering from eye diseases. 70 Identity and Prestige None of these relics made the churches in which they were exhibited national shrines, as for instance the Marian shrines at Mellieħa, Qrendi, or Żabbar. 71
The Construction of a Shrine in Postwar Kosovo
Anna Di Lellio and Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers
The site of an infamous Serb massacre of a militant Albanian extended family in March 1998 has become the most prominent sacred shrine in postwar Kosovo attracting thousands of Albanian visitors. Inspired by Smith's (2003) 'territorialization of memory' as a sacred source of national identity and MacCannell's (1999 ) five-stage model of 'sight sacralization', this article traces the site's sacred memorial topography, its construction process, its social and material reproductions, and adds a sixth stage to the interpretation - the 'political reproduction'. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the commemorative literature emanating from this shrine and on numerous interviews with core protagonists (including former guerrilla) and visitors, the article explores the ways in which the religious themes of martyrdom and sacrifice, as well as traditionalist ideals of solidarity and militancy, are embodied at the site and give sense to a nation-wide celebration of ethno-national resistance, solidarity and independence.
Studies on Religious Anti-syncretism in the Western Rhodopes, Bulgaria
This essay questions the thesis of the supposed syncretic nature of the religion of Bulgarian-speaking Muslims, an idea still espoused in Bulgarian ethnography and popular among the Rhodope Christian population. It examines the Muslim motivations for attending Christian holy places in the Rhodopes, particularly the Monastery of St George in Hadzhidimovo, to gather evidence from the actual participants. It shows that the local Muslims and Christians offer incompatible interpretations of the Muslim practice. Furthermore, it takes into account Muslim and Christian testimonies on how Muslims behave in the monastery of St George, and how their gestures are interpreted by both groups. Although the Muslim narratives betray a rather anti-syncretic attitude to Christianity, the Christians sometimes tend to see them as actual crypto-Christians. In my conclusions I stake out a position in the recent polemic between Glenn Bowman and Robert Hayden concerning the specificity of interactions between dissenters at sacred shrines.
Focusing on the aesthetic, moral, and affective economies of one-day multisite pilgrimage tours of Indian-Jewish Israelis to the tombs of tzaddikim (“righteous persons”) as well as venerated sites of biblical figures in Israel, the article explores how the neoliberal idea of entrepreneurial competitiveness assists in mobilizing and sustaining culturally valued moral and aesthetic inclinations. Furthermore, it foregrounds the “multisensoriality” of religiously defined practice, emotion, and belief and their role in the production of an Indian-Jewish ambiance and the narratives that it elicits. Clearly, throughout their pilgrimage, Indian-Jewish Israelis carve out their own spaces in which they author the sacred sites and cultural landscapes that they visit through aesthetic engagement, embodied ritual, and, more generally, sensory enactment. However, in order to achieve the desired ambiance, Indian-Jewish pilgrims must to some extent become entrepreneurs or consumers in Israel’s flourishing market of folk veneration both with regard to homegrown and imported saintly Jewish figures.
Kinship Relationships in Thai Spirit Cults
Andrew Alan Johnson
of state power. The story is interesting enough as it is. In this article, however, it is Nak’s second afterlife that I seek to explore. Nak’s primary spirit shrine stands in Wat Mahabut, in what is now the eastern outskirts of Bangkok, near the busy
. Distance from home and from quotidian practice. I return here to Edith Turner's definition: “A religious believer in any culture may sometimes look beyond the local temple, church, or shrine, feel the call of some distant holy place renowned for miracles
On the spatial and moral center of the house in rural China
In the past, most farmhouses in central China had an ancestral shrine and a paper scroll with the Chinese letters for "heaven, earth, emperor, ancestors, and teachers" on the wall opposite the main entrance. The ancestral shrine and paper scroll were materializations of the central principles of popular Confucianism. This article deals with their past and present. It describes how in everyday action and in ritual this shrine marked a spatial and moral center. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) the ancestral shrines and paper scrolls were destroyed, and replaced by a poster of Mao Zedong. Although the moral principles of popular Confucianism were dismissed by intellectuals and politicians, Mao Zedong was worshipped in ways reminiscent of popular Confucian ritual. The Mao poster and the paper scroll stand for a continuity of a spatial-moral practice of centering. What has changed however is the public evaluation of such a local practice, and this tension can produce a double embarrassment. Elements of popular Confucianism (which had been forcefully denied in the past) remain somewhat embarrassing for many people in countryside. At the same time urbanites sometimes inversely perceive the Maoist condemnation of popular Confucianism as an awkward survival of peasant narrow-mindedness—all the more so as Confucian traditions are now reinvented and revitalized as cultural heritage.