Middle Ages
Pilgrims Hit the Road

Pilgrims Hit the Road
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.49

     challenging words:    pilgrimage, well-known, monastery, twelfth, spiritual, medieval, supposedly, thirteenth, travelers, miraculous, meaning, traveled, arrival, purpose, daily, attraction
     content words:    Canterbury Cathedral, Middle Ages

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Pilgrims Hit the Road
By Sharon Fabian

1     In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the people of medieval Europe began to take to the road. They weren't packing up and leaving for good, but they weren't just going on vacation either. These medieval travelers, from all walks of life, were going on pilgrimages. Pilgrims included merchants, craftsmen, artisans, friars, minstrels, and many other people. Everyone went on pilgrimages -- rich men, poor men, beggars, and thieves.
2     A pilgrimage must have been a break from the routine of daily life, like a vacation is today, but it also served another purpose. A pilgrimage was a journey to see the relics of a favorite saint. Relics included the bones or ashes of the saint, or even a bit of cloth from the saint's clothing. Pilgrims also traveled to see relics from Jesus' life, including nails and fragments of wood supposedly from the cross on which he died.
3     Pilgrims made their journeys for many reasons. Some went because they believed that praying at a religious shrine would increase their chances of getting into heaven. Others went out of curiosity. Others, who suffered from a serious disease, went in hopes of a miraculous cure.

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