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The Promotion of Pilgrimage Sites in Moravia through Broadside Ballads in the First Half of the 19th century

Abstract

The article deals with broadside ballads with themes related to pilgrimage, which were used by Moravian pilgrims from the 1790s, but mainly in the first half of the 19th century. The period under study thus begins after the death of the Enlightenment ruler Joseph II, who introduced a number of restrictive measures into the pilgrimage system, which altered the pilgrimage practice. The quantity of pilgrimage songs then published as broadside ballads proves the unceasing interest of especially commoners in pilgrimages and the culture associated with them. The songs themselves, however, occasionally mirror the new situation. The first case is represented by songs about the pilgrimage sites abolished by the reforms of Joseph II and later (mostly from the second quarter of the 19th century) renewed (an analysis on the examples of Bludov and Hostýn). The second case includes newly established pilgrimage sites, which sometimes claim allegedly ancient history but are often only local replacements for more remote pilgrimage sites (an analysis on the examples of Jalubí and Lutršték near Němčany). The main role in the restoration and establishment of pilgrimage sites at that time was played by commoners, often peasants, who, after the Enlightenment reforms, assumed the role previously reserved for higher-ranking people (the nobility, clergy and burghers). Likewise the literature promoting the new or restored sites comes from these circles, which is reflected in a certain primitiveness of expression, yet interspersed with remnants of Baroque stereotypes.

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