Pagan vs Pilgrim: Difference and Comparison

Over the centuries, many people have developed their own beliefs and religions. Pagans and pilgrims are two such groups of people.

Both of these groups have different beliefs and worship different gods with different traditions and rituals. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Pagans practice or believe in non-Abrahamic, polytheistic, or indigenous spiritual traditions. At the same time, pilgrims are religious devotees who embark on journeys to sacred sites or shrines for spiritual growth or fulfillment.
  2. The term “pagan” is used to describe pre-Christian European religions, whereas “pilgrim” can apply to people of various faiths, including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
  3. Both pagans and pilgrims seek spiritual connections and personal growth, but they do so through different practices and beliefs.

Pagan vs Pilgrim 

The difference between a pagan and a pilgrim is that a pagan believes and worships the old gods and goddesses, earth and nature, and has no travels associated with it, whereas a pilgrim is a person who believes in gods related to a specific religion and they go on pilgrimages. 

Pagan vs Pilgrim

A pagan is a person who worships nature, the ground, and ancient gods. Christians and Jews use the term to refer to people who don’t believe in their religion.

It’s also sometimes used as a pejorative phrase. Pagan ceremonies centre on natural cycles like seasonal changes along with rites of passage like birth, death, etc. 

A pilgrim is someone who embarks on a long journey, for religious or moral reasons, particularly to a faraway location.

They were English colonists who arrived in America in 1620 and formed the Plymouth Colony. A pilgrim is a person who undertakes a journey for religious reasons.

Because they were being treated badly for what they believed, the Pilgrims left England. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison Pagan Pilgrim 
Beliefs Believes and worships the old gods, earth, and nature. Believes in religion-specific gods. 
Travels They have no travel. They go on pilgrimages. 
Different Categories Pantheism, Polytheism, and Shamanism Cultural pilgrimage and religious pilgrimage. 
Religion Meaning It refers to a person who doesn’t believe in religion. It refers to a person who is extremely devoted to religion. 
Religion It is used by Christians and jews while referring to people outside of their own religions. It can be used in all religions. 

What is Pagan? 

A pagan is a term used to describe someone who worships nature, the ground, and ancient gods. Many people believe Wiccans and certain aboriginal tribesmen to be pagans. 

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Pagan is a phrase used by Christians and Jews to describe someone who does not believe in their religion’s traditions or Gods.

As a result, terminology like pantheism, polytheism, and shamanism have evolved over time to describe various sorts of pagans and their beliefs. 

Nature is sacred to Pagans, and the natural cycles of birth, growth, and death that we see in the world around us have immense spiritual importance.

Like other creatures, humans are considered natural, like other creatures, trees, rocks, plants, and everything else in the world. 

The term “pagan” is derived from the Late Latin word “pagus,” which was used at the end of the Roman Empire to denote people who did not practice Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, according to Merriam-Webster.

Polytheists were a term used by early Christians to describe non-Christians who worshipped multiple gods. 

Paganism refers to a set of ideas and practices centred on a love of nature and the revival of historic polytheistic and animistic religious traditions. Pagan traditions are centred on rituals. 

Although some modern forms of Paganism have roots in nineteenth-century European nationalism, most contemporary Pagan groups have their immediate organizational roots in the 1960s

and place a strong emphasis on archetypal psychology and spiritual interest in nature. 

pagan

What is Pilgrim? 

A pilgrim is someone who firmly believes in a specific religion and travels for spiritual reasons. Pilgrimage is a term used to describe a spiritual journey to a location considered sacred by a particular faith. 

A pilgrim (from the Latin peregrinus) is a traveller on a pilgrimage to a holy site who has travelled from afar. This is a physical journey (on foot) to a place of special significance to a religious belief system’s adherent. 

According to American history, the Pilgrims were the founders of Plymouth Colony in 1620. After Jamestown, Plymouth was the second English colony in North America.

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Colonists later referred to them as the Old Comers or the Forefathers. Until the 1800s, they were known as the Pilgrims. 

They left England because they were treated badly for their beliefs and traditions. So, after leaving, they moved to America. 

The pilgrims had a difficult time in their first year, and more than half of them died.

The Pilgrims were supported by the Native Americans who already lived in the area, and in the fall of 1621, they celebrated their first good harvest. Thanksgiving is an American holiday that commemorates the first harvest. 

pilgrim

Main Differences Between Pagan and Pilgrim 

  1. Pagan is used to refer to people who believe in and worship ancient gods and goddesses, earth, and nature. On the other hand, the term Pilgrim is used to refer to people who believe in gods associated with specific religions. 
  2. Pagans have no associated travels whatsoever, whereas pilgrims tend to go on certain travels known as pilgrimages. 
  3. The different categories of Paganism are Pantheism, Polytheism, Shamanism, etc. The different categories of Pilgrims and pilgrimages are cultural pilgrimage, religious pilgrimage, etc. 
  4. According to the meaning associated with religion, pagan is used to refer to a person who doesn’t believe in that religion. On the other hand, the pilgrim is used to refer to a person who is extremely devoted to the religion. 
  5. Christians and Jews use the term Pagan to refer to people with different religions than their own particular religions, whereas the pilgrim can be used by all of the religions. 
Difference Between Pagan and Pilgrim
References
  1. https://academic.oup.com/socrel/article-abstract/63/4/475/1662633 
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1749-8171.2011.00282.x 

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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9 thoughts on “Pagan vs Pilgrim: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The comparison provided here is insightful and helps unravel the complexities of these belief systems. It’s indeed remarkable how different paths to spiritual connections can be.

    Reply
  2. Both of these groups sound really fascinating as they both have different beliefs and traditions but at the same time they seek the same spiritual connections and personal growth. Learning more about them seems very interesting.

    Reply
  3. The comparison between Pagans and Pilgrims is quite revealing. It is interesting to see how different beliefs and practices can be so distinct yet have common elements. This is truly fascinating.

    Reply
  4. The detailed comparison of the beliefs and practices of pagans and pilgrims offers a profound insight into these two groups. Truly intriguing how diverse and yet interconnected belief systems can be.

    Reply
  5. The post gives a comprehensive overview of the key differences between pagans and pilgrims. It is interesting to see how belief systems and practices can vary so greatly, and yet seek similar spiritual fulfillment. This is indeed a thought-provoking discussion.

    Reply
    • I wholeheartedly agree, the perspective presented is so enlightening. This is a valuable discussion that deserves recognition.

      Reply
  6. The detailed analysis of the differences between pagans and pilgrims is enlightening. It elucidates the rich diversity of spiritual practices and belief systems. This is an engaging and intellectually stimulating article.

    Reply
    • The article indeed provides a valuable perspective on the ancient and traditional belief systems. The exploration of the delineations between pagans and pilgrims is intellectually stimulating.

      Reply

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