Hundreds enjoyed the experience of being a pilgrim – both modern day and medieval – at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday.
All ages took part in a day of activities including drawing round feet on a pilgrim path along the Cloister; following a labyrinth and adding a stone to the cairn; exploring ways to pray with a prayer tree; dressing up and creating a clay pilgrim tile.
Canon Clare Edwards said: “It’s been a lovely day with lots of people here enjoying themselves and engaging with the Cathedral in a way they wouldn’t normally do. It’s easy to get lost in the history and architecture and not really reflect on what the Cathedral is here for but today has given people a chance to reconnect and experience it in a more personal way.”
The Pilgrimage Experience Day was organised jointly with the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at York University where a team has been examining the role of pilgrimage in the past and its renewed popularity today.
Centre Director Dr Dee Dyas explained: “We have created new spaces and ways for people to learn and form new memories through a sensory experience. Scientific research tells us that memory is based on seeing, smelling, touching and movement. We’ve attempted to create spaces today that would help initiate and create new memories.
“Adults and children have written down on paper things that they are sorry for and put them in water and seen it dissolve which serves as a symbol of how forgiveness works. Some people took a lot of time thinking about what they wanted to write, some even went away to think about it for a while and came back and wrote so much down on the paper. It had a real impact and people were commenting on how refreshed they felt afterwards. Some even took the blank pieces of paper with them as they left so it must have really been something very important to them.”