Thursday, August 16, 2007

record crowds for the King and the Apostle

Last night's candlelit vigil for Elvis was the biggest ever according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal (great name for a newspaper). An estimated 50,000 mourners, pilgrims, fans were still making their way, one by one, past the King's grave at sunrise this morning. One died of heat stroke in the afternoon leading up to the vigil, as Memphis temperatures soared to 106F. Check out this article for an interview with Roy Smalley, a "tribute artist" (aka, "Elvis impersonator") who also serves with the County Rescue Squad. He speculates on the reaction of someone waking from a faint to find they are being revived by Elvis.

And if the grave of the King is busy, how about the tomb of the Apostle? Not in centuries, maybe never, has Santiago de Compostela seen crowds like these. Last week, the Pilgrim Office in the Rua do Vilar handed out 7,209 compostelas, a single-week record (*the compostela is the certificate given to pilgrims who have walked one hundred kilometres or more and cyclists who have done two-hundred.*) On Saturday alone, 1500 accreditations were made, the first time the total has surpassed 1200 in a single day. Office hours were extended to make sure no one went home without their quaint Latin scroll, and though no figures are available, you can bet the little stationery shop across the road that sells cardboard tubes made an absolute killing.

Seems like we still need our kings and saints...

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