The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Pilgrimage of the Animals to highlight extinction 

On Easter Saturday (April 11) there will be a ritual procession through the heart of Norwich to honour the creatures that have become endangered, and remember some that have already been lost. Organisers Lezley and Hugh report.

It will also raise awareness about the ecological catastrophe we face unless we take immediate action. The attention of our hearts will be on our kindred species whose lives have been wantonly put at risk.

Everyone is invited to join the pilgrims, who will gather at 12 noon outside Norwich Cathedral (between the Erpingham Gate and the Cathedral).

Pilgrims are encouraged to dress in black and, where possible, to walk from their homes to the gathering place. Each pilgrim will have chosen one endangered creature – animal, bird, insect or fish. (For a list of creatures the website

Each pilgrim will carry a round ‘shield’ (45cm / 18 inches diameter) bearing the name and a bold and vibrant image of their creature. 

Over the months preceding the pilgrimage there will be workshops in which artists will be available to help you decorate your shield. For more information visit the website. 

The procession will set off at a slow and solemn pace. Pilgrims will walk in silence. They will walk in pairs with their shields facing outwards. Drums will sound a slow rhythm. On the processional route there will be ‘stations’ where the pilgrims will halt. At each station the silence will be broken and some of the endangered creatures will be loudly named. 

The procession will end between the Forum and St Peter Mancroft Church. There will be a culminating ritual. While the pilgrims sing a lament (which they will have learned when they first gather) the shields will be solemnly taken and hung from poles… creating a ring of ‘totem poles’. 

After the culminating ritual the pilgrims will disperse and the totem poles will be displayed (in the Forum, in St Peter Mancroft, in the Cathedral, and other spaces). 

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