Shrine
Overview
 
A shrine is a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, ancestor, hero
Hero
A hero , in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion...

, martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

, saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

, daemon
Daemon (mythology)
The words dæmon and daimôn are Latinized spellings of the Greek "δαίμων", a reference to the daemons of Ancient Greek religion and mythology, as well as later Hellenistic religion and philosophy...

 or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated
Veneration
Veneration , or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a saint: an angel, or a dead person who has been identified by a church committee as singular in the traditions of the religion. It is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches...

 or worship
Worship
Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.Evelyn Underhill defines worship thus: "The absolute...

ped. Shrines often contain idol
Cult image
In the practice of religion, a cult image is a human-made object that is venerated for the deity, spirit or daemon that it embodies or represents...

s, relic
Relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

s, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated. A shrine at which votive offering
Votive offering
A votive deposit or votive offering is one or more objects displayed or deposited, without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred place for broadly religious purposes. Such items are a feature of modern and ancient societies and are generally made in order to gain favor with supernatural...

s are made is called an altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

. Shrines are found in many of the world's religions, including Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion or Shenism , which is a term of considerable debate, are labels used to describe the collection of ethnic religious traditions which have been a main belief system in China and among Han Chinese ethnic groups for most of the civilization's history until today...

 and Shinto
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

, as well as in secular and non-religious settings such as a war memorial.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
A shrine is a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, ancestor, hero
Hero
A hero , in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion...

, martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

, saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

, daemon
Daemon (mythology)
The words dæmon and daimôn are Latinized spellings of the Greek "δαίμων", a reference to the daemons of Ancient Greek religion and mythology, as well as later Hellenistic religion and philosophy...

 or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated
Veneration
Veneration , or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a saint: an angel, or a dead person who has been identified by a church committee as singular in the traditions of the religion. It is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches...

 or worship
Worship
Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.Evelyn Underhill defines worship thus: "The absolute...

ped. Shrines often contain idol
Cult image
In the practice of religion, a cult image is a human-made object that is venerated for the deity, spirit or daemon that it embodies or represents...

s, relic
Relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

s, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated. A shrine at which votive offering
Votive offering
A votive deposit or votive offering is one or more objects displayed or deposited, without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred place for broadly religious purposes. Such items are a feature of modern and ancient societies and are generally made in order to gain favor with supernatural...

s are made is called an altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

. Shrines are found in many of the world's religions, including Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion or Shenism , which is a term of considerable debate, are labels used to describe the collection of ethnic religious traditions which have been a main belief system in China and among Han Chinese ethnic groups for most of the civilization's history until today...

 and Shinto
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

, as well as in secular and non-religious settings such as a war memorial. Shrines can be found in various settings, such as churches, temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

s, cemeteries
Cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

, or in the home, although portable shrine
Portable shrine
In Buddhism, portable shrines were made so that devout travelers with nowhere to worship could carry their shrines with them. The shrines were two-piece, and could be shut together to preserve the artwork....

s are also found in some cultures.

A shrine may become a focus of a cult image
Cult image
In the practice of religion, a cult image is a human-made object that is venerated for the deity, spirit or daemon that it embodies or represents...

.

Types of shrines

Temple shrines

Many shrines are located within buildings designed specifically for worship, such as a church in Christianity, or a mandir
Hindu temple
A Mandir, Devalayam, Devasthanam, or a Hindu temple is a place of worship for followers of Hinduism...

 in Hinduism. A shrine here is usually the centre of attention in the building, and is given a place of prominence. In such cases, adherents of the faith assemble within the building in order to venerate the deity at the shrine.

Household shrines

Historically, in Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Roman Catholicism, and also in modern faiths, such as Neopaganism
Neopaganism
Neopaganism is an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe...

, a shrine can commonly be found within the home or shop. This shrine is usually a small structure or a setup of pictures and figurines dedicated to a deity that is part of the official religion, to ancestors or to a localised household deity
Household deity
A household deity is a deity or spirit that protects the home, looking after the entire household or certain key members. It has been a common belief in pagan religions as well as in folklore across many parts of the world....

.

Small household shrines are very common among the Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 and people from South
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, whether Hindu, Buddhist or Christian. Usually a small lamp and small offerings are kept daily by the shrine. Buddhist household shrines must be on a shelf above the head; Chinese shrines must stand directly on the floor.

Yard shrines

Small outdoor yard shrines are found at the places of many peoples, following various religions, including historically, Christianity
Idolatry in Christianity
A cult image or idol is a material object, representing a deity, to which religious worship is directed. It is also controversially and pejoratively used by some Protestants to describe the Orthodox Christian practice of worshipping the Christian God through the use of icons, a charge which...

. Many consist of a statue of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 or a saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

, on a pedestal or in an alcove, while others may be elaborate groupings, including paintings, statuary, and architectural elements, such as walls, roofs, glass doors and ironwork fences, etc.

In the United States, some Christians have small yard shrines; some of these resemble side altars, since they are composed of a statue placed in a niche or grotto
Grotto
A grotto is any type of natural or artificial cave that is associated with modern, historic or prehistoric use by humans. When it is not an artificial garden feature, a grotto is often a small cave near water and often flooded or liable to flood at high tide...

; this type is colloquially referred to as a bathtub madonna
Bathtub madonna
A bathtub Madonna is an artificial grotto typically framing a Roman Catholic religious figure.-Variations:...

.

Religious shrines

Shrines are found in most, though not all, religions. As distinguished from a temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

, a shrine usually houses a particular relic
Relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

 or cult image
Cult image
In the practice of religion, a cult image is a human-made object that is venerated for the deity, spirit or daemon that it embodies or represents...

, which is the object of worship
Worship
Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.Evelyn Underhill defines worship thus: "The absolute...

 or veneration
Veneration
Veneration , or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a saint: an angel, or a dead person who has been identified by a church committee as singular in the traditions of the religion. It is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches...

, or is constructed to set apart a site which is thought to be particularly holy, as opposed to being placed for the convenience of worshippers. Shrines therefore attract the practice of pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

.

Bahá'í

The two most well-known Bahá'í
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 shrines serve as the resting places for the respective remains of the two central figures of the Bahá'í Faith, the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

 and Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

. They are the focal points of a Bahá'í pilgrimage
Bahá'í pilgrimage
A Bahá'í pilgrimage currently consists of visiting the holy places in Haifa, Akká, and Bahjí at the Bahá'í World Centre in Northwest Israel. Bahá'ís do not have access to other places designated as sites for pilgrimage....

:
  • The Shrine of the Báb
    Shrine of the Báb
    The Shrine of the Báb is a structure in Haifa, Israel where the remains of the Báb, founder of Bábism and forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh in the Bahá'í Faith, have been laid to rest; it is considered to be the second holiest place on Earth for Bahá'ís, after the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh in Acre...

     in Haifa
    Haifa
    Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

    , Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

    .
  • The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh
    Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh
    The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, located in Bahjí near Acre, Israel, is the most holy place for Bahá'ís and represents their Qiblih, or direction of prayer...

     in Acre, Israel
    Acre, Israel
    Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

    .

Buddhism

In Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, a shrine refers to a place where veneration is focused on the Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 or one of the bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened existence or an enlightenment-being or, given the variant Sanskrit spelling satva rather than sattva, "heroic-minded one for enlightenment ." The Pali term has sometimes been translated as "wisdom-being," although in modern publications, and...

s. Monks, nuns and laypeople all give offerings to these revered figures at these shrines and also meditate
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

 in front of them.

Typically, Buddhist shrines contain a statue of either the Buddha, or (in the Mahayana
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

 and Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

 forms of Buddhism), one of the various bodhisattvas. They also commonly contain candles, along with offerings such as flowers, purified water, food, and incense. Many shrines also contain sacred relics, such as the alleged tooth of the Buddha
Relic of the tooth of the Buddha
The Sacred Relic of the tooth of Buddha is venerated in Sri Lanka as a relic of the founder of Buddhism.-The relic in India:...

 held at a shrine in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

.

Site-specific shrines in Buddhism, particularly those that contain relics of deceased buddhas and revered monks, are often designed in the traditional form
Buddhist architecture
Buddhist religious architecture developed in South Asia in the 3rd century BC.Three types of structures are associated with the religious architecture of early Buddhism: monasteries , stupas, and temples ....

 known as the stupa
Stupa
A stupa is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of Buddha, used by Buddhists as a place of worship....

.

Christianity

Shrines are found in many, though not all, forms of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, the largest denomination of Christianity, has many shrines, as do Orthodox Christianity
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

 and Anglicanism
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

.

In the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 Code of Canon law
Canon law (Catholic Church)
The canon law of the Catholic Church, is a fully developed legal system, with all the necessary elements: courts, lawyers, judges, a fully articulated legal code and principles of legal interpretation. It lacks the necessary binding force present in most modern day legal systems. The academic...

, canons 1230 and 1231 read: "The term shrine means a church or other sacred place which, with the approval of the local Ordinary
Ordinary
In those hierarchically organised churches of Western Christianity which have an ecclesiastical law system, an ordinary is an officer of the church who by reason of office has ordinary power to execute the church's laws...

, is by reason of special devotion
Catholic devotions
A Roman Catholic devotion is a gift of oneself, or one's activities to God. It is a willingness and desire to dedicate oneself to serve God; either in terms of prayers or in terms of a set of pious acts such as the adoration of God or the veneration of the saints or the Virgin Mary.Roman Catholic...

 frequented by the faithful as pilgrim
Pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

s. For a shrine to be described as national
National shrine
A National Shrine is a Catholic church or other sacred place which has met certain requirements and is given this honor by the nation's Conference of Catholic Bishops to recognize the church's special historical, cultural and religious significance.- Process:...

, the approval of the Episcopal Conference
Episcopal Conference
In the Roman Catholic Church, an Episcopal Conference, Conference of Bishops, or National Conference of Bishops is an official assembly of all the bishops of a given territory...

 is necessary. For it to be described as international, the approval of the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 is required."

Another use of the term "shrine" in colloquial Catholic terminology is a niche or alcove in most – especially larger – churches used by parishioners when praying privately in the church. They were also called Devotional Altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

s, since they could look like small Side Altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

s or bye-altar
Bye-Altar
A side-altar or bye-altar is an altar that is subordinate to the central or high altar in a church. The term is generally applied to altars that are situated in the bay or bays of the nave, transepts, etc. Side-altars may be recessed in a side-chapel, or against a main aisle wall....

s. Shrines were always centered on some image of Christ or a saint – for instance, a statue, painting, mural or mosaic, and may have had a reredos
Reredos
thumb|300px|right|An altar and reredos from [[St. Josaphat's Roman Catholic Church|St. Josaphat Catholic Church]] in [[Detroit]], [[Michigan]]. This would be called a [[retable]] in many other languages and countries....

 behind them (without a Tabernacle
Church tabernacle
A tabernacle is the fixed, locked box in which, in some Christian churches, the Eucharist is "reserved" . A less obvious container, set into the wall, is called an aumbry....

 built in).

However, Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 would not be celebrated at them; they were simply used to aid or give a visual focus for prayers. Side altars, where Mass could actually be celebrated, were used in a similar way to shrines by parishioners. Side altars were specifically dedicated to The Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of the Virgin Mary and the earthly father of Jesus Christ ....

 as well as other saints.

A nativity set
Nativity scene
A nativity scene, manger scene, krippe, crèche, or crib, is a depiction of the birth of Jesus as described in the gospels of Matthew and Luke...

 could also be viewed as a shrine, as the definition of a shrine is any holy or sacred place.

Germanic paganism

In Germanic paganism
Germanic paganism
Germanic paganism refers to the theology and religious practices of the Germanic peoples of north-western Europe from the Iron Age until their Christianization during the Medieval period...

, types of shrines were employed, but terms for the shrines show some level of ambiguity:
  • Hörgr
    Hörgr
    A hörgr or hearg was a type of religious building or altar possibly consisting of a heap of stones, used in Norse paganism...

    s
    , which may have originally exclusively referred to "holy places", whereas its Old English cognate hearg could mean "holy grove
    Sacred grove
    A sacred grove is a grove of trees of special religious importance to a particular culture. Sacred groves were most prominent in the Ancient Near East and prehistoric Europe, but feature in various cultures throughout the world...

    " and/or "temple, idol"
  • Vé (shrine)
    In Germanic paganism, a vé or wēoh is a type of shrine or sacred enclosure. The term appears in skaldic poetry and in place names in Scandinavia , often in connection with a Norse deity or a geographic feature. The name of the Norse god Vé, refers to the practice...

    s
    (Old Norse) or wēohs (Old English), referring to either a types of shrines or sacred enclosures. The term appears in skald
    Skald
    The skald was a member of a group of poets, whose courtly poetry is associated with the courts of Scandinavian and Icelandic leaders during the Viking Age, who composed and performed renditions of aspects of what we now characterise as Old Norse poetry .The most prevalent metre of skaldic poetry is...

    ic poetry and in place names in Scandinavia
    Scandinavia
    Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

     (with the exception of Iceland
    Iceland
    Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

    ), often in connection with a Norse deity or a geographic feature. The name of the Norse god
    Vili and Vé
    In Norse mythology, Vili and Vé are the brothers of Óðinn , sons of Bestla daughter of Bölþorn and Borr son of Búri:Old Norse Vili means "will"...

    , refers to the practice.

Hinduism

In Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, a shrine is a place where a god or goddess is worshipped. Shrines are typically located inside a temple known as a mandir
Hindu temple
A Mandir, Devalayam, Devasthanam, or a Hindu temple is a place of worship for followers of Hinduism...

, though many Hindus also have a household shrine as well. Sometimes a human is venerated at a Hindu shrine along with a deity, for instance the 19th century religious teacher Sri Ramakrishna
Ramakrishna
Ramakrishna , born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay , was a famous mystic of 19th-century India. His religious school of thought led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda – both were influential figures in the Bengali Renaissance as well as the Hindu...

 is venerated at the Ramakrishna Temple in Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

.

Central to a Hindu shrine is a statue of a deity, which is known as a murti
Murti
In Hinduism, a murti , or murthi, or vigraha or pratima typically refers to an image which expresses a Divine Spirit . Meaning literally "embodiment", a murti is a representation of a divinity, made usually of stone, wood, or metal, which serves as a means through which a divinity may be worshiped...

. Hindus believe that the deity that they are worshiping actually enters and inhabits the murti. This is given offerings like candles, food, flowers, and incense. In some cases, particularly among devotees of the goddess Kālī
KALI
KALI may refer to:* KALI , a radio station licensed to West Covina, California, United States* KALI-FM, a radio station licensed to Santa Ana, California, United States...

 in northern India, animals are sacrificed
Animal sacrifice
Animal sacrifice is the ritual killing of an animal as part of a religion. It is practised by many religions as a means of appeasing a god or gods or changing the course of nature...

 to the deity (animal sacrifice is not a part of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

).

At a mandir, the congregation often assembles in front of a shrine, and, led by priests, give offerings and sing devotional hymns.

Islam

Islam has developed a rich tradition of shrine culture. In Islam its prohibited to worship graves, though it is permitted to supplicate with the Tawasul of a living pious person and it is also permitted to supplicate with the Tawasul of the deceased pious person (Sufi/Wali). In Islam Shrines hold a notable position and considered as places to seek spiritual guidance. Most Islamic shrines are dedicated to various Sufi Saints and are widely scattered throughout the Islamic world. It is a tradition to commemorate the death of the Saint, by holding festivals at his tomb to commemorate his life. In several countries, the local shrine is a focal point of the community, with several localities named specifically for the local saint.

In some parts of the Islamic world, such as in Pakistan, these festivals are multi-day events and even draw members of the Hindu and Christian minority who often revere the Muslim saint, such as in the case of the famous Lal Baz Qalandar shrine in Sindh, Pakistan – an important example of religious syncretism that blurs the distinction between members of different religions. Sufi shrines in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan are also host to a night of commemoration by Mehfil Samaaa (Qawali) and Zikr every Thursday. Some people claim that such practices were influenced by Hinduism long ago when Muslims and Hindus co-existed in the sub-continent.

In Turkey, the famous Whirling Dervishes perform their whirling at the shrine of Jalal-ud-Din Rumi in Konya
Konya
Konya is a city in the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey. The metropolitan area in the entire Konya Province had a population of 1,036,027 as of 2010, making the city seventh most populous in Turkey.-Etymology:...

, while in Morocco and Algeria, brotherhoods of Black African Sufis, the Gnouia, perform elaborate songs at the shrines of their Saints.

Further, Shia's have several shrines dedicated to various religious figures important in their history, and several elaborate shrines are dedicated to Shia Saints and religious figures, most notably in Kerbala, Najaf, and Samarra in Iraq, and Qum and Mashad in Iran. Other important Shia shrines are located in Mazar-e-Sharif ("the Noble Shrine") in Afghanistan, and in Damascus, Syria.

Numerous shrines were once located in Saudi Arabia in its initial days. However, they were destroyed in the 1930s by Saudi Arabian government labeling them as Shirk/Bid'ah, The only shrine that remained intact was that of the Holy Prophet. Other important Shrines were once found in Central Asia, but many were destroyed by the Soviets.

According to the extremists or Salafi
Salafi
A Salafi come from Sunni Islam is a follower of an Islamic movement, Salafiyyah, that is supposed to take the Salaf who lived during the patristic period of early Islam as model examples...

 school of thought, it is totally forbidden to build structures over graves as Prophet Muhammad ordered to demolish all the structures over graves.

It was narrated that Abu’l-Hayaaj al-Asadi said: ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said to me: “Shall I not send you on the same mission as the Messenger of Allah sent me? Do not leave any statue without erasing it, and do not leave any raised grave without leveling it.” (Narrated by Muslim, 969).

But according to Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 that order was for demolishing structures built over graves of Non Muslims only. It merits mentioning that there are elevated graves of notable Salafi
Salafi
A Salafi come from Sunni Islam is a follower of an Islamic movement, Salafiyyah, that is supposed to take the Salaf who lived during the patristic period of early Islam as model examples...

 scholars are also present such as Ibn Taymiyyah in Baramkeh Damascus.

There is a lot of Criticism from Muslims around the globe on Saudi Arabia's policy of destroying Shrines and historical places as Shrines are center of spiritual guidance for Muslims. Scholars wrote tracts and books to tell the world the fact that the idea behind destruction of Shrines is to eradicate the Islamic legacy and heritage and to systematically remove all its vestiges so that in the days to come, Muslims will have no affiliation with their religious history.

Taoism

The line between a temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 and a shrine in Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

 is not fully defined; shrines are usually smaller versions of larger Taoist temples or small places in a home
Home
A home is a place of residence or refuge. When it refers to a building, it is usually a place in which an individual or a family can rest and store personal property. Most modern-day households contain sanitary facilities and a means of preparing food. Animals have their own homes as well, either...

 where a yin-yang
Taijitu
Taijitu is a term which refers to a Chinese symbol for the concept of yin and yang...

 emblem is placed among peaceful settings to encourage meditation and study of Taoist texts and principles. Taoists place less emphasis on formalized attendance and ritualized worship than other Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

n religions; formal temples and structures of worship came about in Taoism mostly in order to prevent losing adherents to Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

. Frequent features of Taoist shrines include the same features as full temples, often including any or all of the following features : garden
Garden
A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The garden can incorporate both natural and man-made materials. The most common form today is known as a residential garden, but the term garden has...

s, running water or fountains, small burning brazier
Brazier
A brazier is a container for fire, generally taking the form of an upright standing or hanging metal bowl or box. Used for holding burning coal as well as fires, a brazier allows for a source of light, heat, or cooking...

s or candles (with or without incense
Incense
Incense is composed of aromatic biotic materials, which release fragrant smoke when burned. The term "incense" refers to the substance itself, rather than to the odor that it produces. It is used in religious ceremonies, ritual purification, aromatherapy, meditation, for creating a mood, and for...

), and copies of Taoist texts such as the Tao Te Ching
Tao Te Ching
The Tao Te Ching, Dao De Jing, or Daodejing , also simply referred to as the Laozi, whose authorship has been attributed to Laozi, is a Chinese classic text...

, Zhuangzi
Zhuangzi (book)
The Taoist book Zhuangzi was named after its purported author Zhuangzi, the philosopher. Since 742 CE, when Emperor Xuanzong of Tang mandated honorific titles for Taoist texts, it has also been known as the Nánhuá Zhēnjīng , literally meaning "True Classic of Southern Florescence," alluding to...

 or other texts by Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu or other Taoist sage
Sage
- People :*A "sage" is any wise teacher, someone who imparts wisdom or the perennial philosophy, including spiritual teachers and teachers of mysticism but not necessarily with such religious connotations, so may refer to a:...

s.

As with all Taoist worship, Taoist shrines are organized around a sense of appreciation of nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 and surroundings that inspire meditation on, and living in accordance with, the Tao
Tao
Dao or Tao is a Chinese word meaning 'way', 'path', 'route', or sometimes more loosely, 'doctrine' or 'principle'...

 ("Way" or "Path", a concept of living harmoniously with one's natural surroundings and environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

) and the Three Jewels Of Taoism (different from Buddhism's concept of Three Jewels) - compassion
Compassion
Compassion is a virtue — one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy are regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism — foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.There is an aspect of...

, moderation
Moderation
Moderation is the process of eliminating or lessening extremes. It is used to ensure normality throughout the medium on which it is being conducted...

, and humility
Humility
Humility is the quality of being modest, and respectful. Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of transcendent unity with the universe or the divine, and of egolessness.-Term:The term "humility"...

.

Religions without shrines

Certain religions do not feature shrines at all, either because they believe they are fundamentally wrong, or because they simply do not need them. Spiritualism
Spiritualism
Spiritualism is a belief system or religion, postulating the belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living...

, whilst believing in a God, does not typically make use of shrines.

Secular shrines

In the United States and some other countries, landmark
Landmark
This is a list of landmarks around the world.Landmarks may be split into two categories - natural phenomena and man-made features, like buildings, bridges, statues, public squares and so forth...

s may be called "historic shrines." Notable shrines of this type include:
  • The Alamo
    Alamo Mission in San Antonio
    The Alamo, originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero, is a former Roman Catholic mission and fortress compound, site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, and now a museum, in San Antonio, Texas....

  • Fort McHenry
    Fort McHenry
    Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, Maryland, is a star-shaped fort best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy in Chesapeake Bay...

  • Touro Synagogue
    Touro Synagogue
    The Touro Synagogue is a 1763 synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, that is the oldest synagogue building still standing in the United States,the oldest surviving Jewish synagogue building in North America, and the only surviving synagogue building in the U.S...

     in Newport, Rhode Island
    Newport, Rhode Island
    Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...

  • Shrine of Remembrance
    Shrine of Remembrance
    The Shrine of Remembrance, located in Kings Domain on St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia was built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I and is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war...

    , a war memorial
    War memorial
    A war memorial is a building, monument, statue or other edifice to celebrate a war or victory, or to commemorate those who died or were injured in war.-Historic usage:...

     in Melbourne
    Melbourne
    Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

    , Victoria, Australia
    Victoria (Australia)
    Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

  • Shrine of Remembrance
    Shrine of Remembrance, Brisbane
    The Shrine of Remembrance is located in ANZAC Square, between Ann Street and Adelaide Street, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. With its 'Eternal Flame', the Shrine is a war memorial dedicated to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps ....

    , a war memorial
    War memorial
    A war memorial is a building, monument, statue or other edifice to celebrate a war or victory, or to commemorate those who died or were injured in war.-Historic usage:...

     in Brisbane
    Brisbane
    Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of...

    , Australia.


By extension the term shrine has come to mean any place (or virtual cyber-place) dedicated completely to a particular person or subject.

See also

  • List of shrines
  • Makeshift memorial
  • Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine
  • Holiest sites in Islam (Shia)
    Holiest sites in Islam (Shia)
    In addition to the three Mosques accepted by all Muslims as holy sites, Shī'ah Muslims consider sites associated with Muhammad, his family members and descendants , their companions, and the Prophets as holy places...

  • Holiest sites in Islam (Sunni)
    Holiest sites in Islam (Sunni)
    According to Sahih al-Bukhari, Muhammad said "Do not set out on a journey except for three Mosques i.e. Al-Masjid-AI-Haram, the Mosque of Allah's Apostle, and the Mosque of Al-Aqsa, ." In the Islāmic Sunni tradition, the Ka'bah is considered the Holiest site, followed by Masjidun Nabawi as the...

  • Shrines to the Virgin Mary
    Shrines to the Virgin Mary
    In the culture and practice of some Christian Churches - mainly, but not solely, the Roman Catholic Church - a Shrine to the Virgin Mary is a shrine marking an apparition or other miracle ascribed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or a site on which is centered a historically strong Marian devotion...

  • Numen
    Numen
    Numen is a Latin term for a potential, guiding the course of events in a particular place or in the whole world, used in Roman philosophical and religious thought...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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