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Local Religion

In popular usage, the term local religion denotes a religious belief or practice unique to a particular region, geographic location, or specific community. The concept of local religion, however, is commonly confused with folk religion—that is, religious beliefs and/or practices of regular or common people that are usually at odds with the “official” or regulated belief systems in a given area. In most instances, the “folk” in folk religion refers to uneducated peasants and superstitious villagers who go on pilgrimages, maintain certain superstitions, and are fascinated with rituals or the externals of religion. Sometimes folk religion is used interchangeably with the term vernacular religion. At least as it pertains to western Europe, vernacular means a language spoken in a particular region by both elites and ...

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