Around a quarter of a million Romanians go on pilgrimages each year in the country, according to Romania’s statistical institute (INS). The new study, quoted by local news source Mediafax, found that some 263,000 people went on a pilgrimage in 2012, which was a 6 percent fall on the previous year.
Most pilgrims stay between one and three nights in the area of the religious site. The statistics do not include day-trippers, but only those that stay at least one night in accommodation.
Area by area, only 3,300 went to the coast, while over 60,000 went to site of religious significance. The vast majority, some 180,000 however, went on pilgrimage to spots spread across the country, churches, shrines, etc. About 17,000 chose to do a circuit of a number of pilgrimage destinations.
Among the popular destinations for pilgrims are the Northern Moldova monasteries, around Neamt, Maramures, as well as in Valcea. Pilgrims also go to Bucharest, and monasteries around the capital, including Cernica, Pasărea and Snagov, said Romanian Patriarchate spokesman Father Constantin Stoica, quoted by Mediafax. Monasteries in the Prahova area are also reportedly popular with pilgrims.
Most make their own travel arrangements, 70 percent according to INS. Buses and coaches are by far the most common form of transport used – 77 percent of the pilgrims. Cars and trains are used by the majority of the remainder, while 7 percent of pilgrims use other means of transport.
Over 33 percent of pilgrims stay at hotels and hostels, 21 percent in private rented housing and 20 stay with family or friends. Most pilgrimages occur during the important Christian festivals, such as Christmas and Easter, as well as to specific shrines and reliquaries on particular saints’ days, including Cuvioasa Parascheva, during October in Iaşi, and Sfântul Dumitru, also in October but in Bucharest.
(photo source: centrupelerinaj.ro)