Reek Sunday or Garland Sunday is an annual day of pilgrimage in Ireland.
On the last Sunday in July, pilgrims climb Ireland's holiest mountain, Croagh Patrick in County Mayo. It is held in honour of Saint Patrick who, in the year 441, spent 40 days fasting on the mountain.
Masses are held in a small chapel at the summit. It had been claimed that the sheer volume of visitors has led to erosion and has made the mountain more dangerous for climbers.
Since ancient times pilgrims have climbed the mountain barefoot, as an act of penance, a practice that still continues today.
Some pilgrims carry out 'rounding rituals', in which they pray while walking sunwise around features on the mountain. In medieval times, pilgrims carried stones as an act of penance, or to represent a prayer intention. The stones were carried to the cairn on top of the mountain, or to the Cairn on the "saddle" of the mountain, which marks the unofficial "half-way" point at the base of the summit. This practice of carrying stones or rocks on a pilgrimage, to add to a cairn, was thought to bring the pilgrims good luck and can be seen in many ancient pilgrimage paths.
Some claim that the pilgrimage pre-dates Christianity and was originally a ritual associated with the festival of Lughnasadh.
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