Popular Religion and Postsocialist Nostalgia Lichen´ as a Polysemic Pilgrimage Centre in Poland
Kinga Sekerdej 1  
,   Agnieszka Pasieka 1  
,   Marta Warat 2  
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Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Jagiellonian University
Publication date: 2008-02-05
Polish Sociological Review 2007;160(4):431–444
The paper discusses the intertwining of religious-national symbolism and socrealist aesthetics in a popular pilgrimage site in Poland: Lichen´. In the last decades of the 20th century, a local cult with a sanctuary devoted to the Virgin Mary has turned into a popular nation-wide pilgrimage site. It is argued that the popularity of Lichen´ derives from the familiarity it evokes, that the longing for the recent and familiar past is fulfilled by the, seemingly contradictory, combination of popular religion and the aesthetics characteristic for the People’s Republic of Poland. This is visible in the monuments, paintings, architecture, the cult of one man, as well as the language at the sanctuary. However, this particular poetics, rooted in recent history, is vitalized by modern technology and global trends, thus creating a successful and attractive pilgrimage destination.
This work was partly supported by the OSI/HESP ReSET Program: Teaching Anthropology: Means and Meanings.