From routes to roots: pilgrimage to Stavridi in Himarë/Himara of Southern Albania
Natasa Gregoric Bon (Research Centre SASA, Slovenia)
By presenting practices and discourses of the emigrants coming from Himarë/Himara area, southern Albania, the paper explores ways in which they continuously constitute their sense of rootedness and belonging to their natal village. The focus is on the pilgrimage to Stavridi on the evening before the Dormition of the Theotokos, one of the most important Christian Orthodox religious feasts. The paper questions how emigrants who live in Greece and keep returning almost every year to their natal village in Himarë/Himara, constitute their claims of being 'rooted' to the place of their natal origin. In today's shifting economic and political relations, the meaning of locality relates to a group's sense of rootedness in a particular locale as well as to continuous movements and migrations. The pilgrimage to Stavridi is seen here as a metaphor of a route with its temporal and spatial dimensions related to the emigrant's claims for roots.