The Way to St James Cygnet pilgrimage returning in 2023
By Josh Low
The Way to St James Cygnet Pilgrimage will return yet again in the new year, held over two days on 14 and 15 January 2023.
The pilgrimage will see both the local walk of approximately 15km each day to St James Church in Cygnet, as well as people walking across the world in unison in a global pilgrimage, akin to recent years which came about due to COVID-19.
The local Way to St James Cygnet will see pilgrims walk through the Huon Valley, passing through Mountain River, Ranelagh and Cradoc on their way to Cygnet.
Once arriving in Cygnet, pilgrims will process through the streets of Cygnet with an icon of St James to the Church of St James.
One of the local organisers, Leanne Prichard, said the idea of the Way to St James Cygnet came from Fr Michael Tate, once the Parish Priest of Cygnet, who realised that the St James Church was constructed in a Spanish style, and the Huon Valley was similar to the hills of Spain along the traditional Camino de Santiago.
This is the first time the Tasmanian and global pilgrimage walks will be occurring at the same time, she added.
“Last time, we livestreamed the opening and the closing from Tasmania, but we didn’t have a Tasmanian event due to COVID.
“The global pilgrimage was created when we couldn’t do the Tasmanian one – we wanted to still give people the option to walk the way to St James Cygnet, but kind of symbolically.
“It was all about the idea of walking in peace and unity across the world,” she explained.
An online Facebook event for people across the world was created, with participants walking where they lived around the world, which even included doing so in Canadian and Icelandic winters.
“We thought that it was such a success last year that we would combine the two,” she said.
“This year, I’m hoping to do a live cross to some of the global pilgrims who will be walking all around the world on the same weekend.”
Ms Prichard explained that much of the traditional symbols and aspects of the Camino de Santiago in Spain had also been adopted to the local walk through the Huon Valley.
With pilgrims from across the country already signed up for the walk through the Huon Valley, she said the pilgrimage walk will be one to remember.
“We’ve already got pilgrims paid up and ready to come down from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
“Come and walk with us in person over the two days walking through the beauty of full Huon Valley, [which will offer] an insight or glimpse into the whole idea of Camino spirit and the connection to the Spanish Camino, and meet other pilgrims on the journey, both from Tasmania and from across Australia,” she said.
Registrations for the local Way to St James Cygnet are already open.
To register, visit: https://www.waytostjames.com.au/register
Early bird registration closes at the end of November.