Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Pilgrim Party on My Arm

"It's a new way to make religion and spirituality both personal and unique."

One thing I did not expect to find on a pilgrimage was arm candy. Religious arm candy is increasingly available especially in the trendiest forms - pull ties, chain links, elastic strings, rubber bands, loops, hole ties and splitters. It's a new way to make religion and spirituality both personal and unique. While quite fashionable some of these pieces have the added benefit of the cultural or spiritual meaning of the symbols within them, thereby becoming quite the souvenir that would actually get used/worn (*upcoming post on useful versus useless souvenirs)

Religious arm candy: bracelets that have a spiritual meaning within them, fashioned in a trendy way.

Check out a map of the pilgrimage party on my arm:

Starting from the right - Israel & Palestine, France, Spain and Portugal.

Here are some of my favourites:
Pilgrim Arrow: this arrow acts as a sign to pilgrims on the Camino to indicate the route they can follow to an information centre or a check-in site or a sacred site.

Jerusalem Cross: the Jerusalem cross is large Greek cross accompanied by four smaller Greek crosses at each corner. The cross symbolizing the crucifixion. The four smaller crosses are said to represent the four books of the Gospels and the four directions in which Christianity spread.  

Lourdes Ring: the ring and elasticised band of Lourdes is a plate with all the symbols of the Lourdes shrine and grotto. With a mint green elastic band, the bracelet has religious meaning with a sense of fashion. 
Lourdes Rubber Band: similar to the coloured bands that signify a cause the Lourdes band signfies  the place where the person was prayed for.

Santiago Shell: a stringed bracelet with a shell charm is quite the simple bracelet but has some very cool significance. The shell symbolizes the object that pilgrim use to drink water - a kind of cup, if you may. Also the shell signifies the many tribes coming together - the fan - and also the idea of from one starting point people fan out to the many areas.
"From one come many"
"The many coming to one"

Eiffel Tower: no real surprising story here as everyone knows the Eiffel tower, the great pylon, the  symbol of the centennial of the French Revolution. And the tower has comes to symbolize Paris, known as the city of love. The bracelet makes quite the souvenir from Paris, the pretty arm candy with the braided band and the lilac blinged out Eiffel Tower, don't you think?
So there's the pilgrim party on my arm. 23 bracelets in 17 days! Which bracelet is your favourite and which do you think has the coolest story behind it?

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