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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


The word perambulate was derived in 1560's from the classical Latin word perambulātus meaning to walk or to travel about or through a particular boundary. By the means of walking; the prefix "per" is defined as "by the means of" and the suffix -ambulate comes from the word ambulant, derived form the latin word "ambulantem" which generally means to walk.  Perambulate used as a verb  is described as walking about inspecting or understanding a boundary, either by measuring or surveying it. It may also be dividing or deciding ownership to a specific territory. It can be also be related to marking a territory, to either conduct or conceal possession of an area. It may also be seen as walking with an ambition, a firm thought around a constrained land solemnly for the purpose to preserve it. To perambulate is to wander, to travel about from one place to another. To go around, encircling a specific bound as if travelling within a perambulator, which is a machine that measures the distance of a large wheel driving along the ground, which also has the mechanics to document each revolution.

 Perambulate is also an adjective used to describe the act of perambulation, which is to identify the land belonging to a specific person, or community. Perambulation is used to describe a spiritual or ceremonial act of traversing around a territory, to document, to determine its outskirts, either by preserving territory or to grant a blessing. This act of perambulation is seen through the ceremony know as " Beating the Bounds" which is an ancient ritual held in a couple Welsh and English parishes. The tradition took place on Accession  Day where members of the church community, both young and old, would carry willow or birch boughs while walking along the skirts of the parish. They were often led by the priest or church officials that belonged to the particular parish, reciting prayers and offering blessings in hope for protection of their land in the following year to come. The parish limits were marked with stone and when the community approached these stone bounds they would forcefully beat it using their bough in order to ensure the boundary would always remain, in a way they were formally preserving them.

An account of perambulation may be a detailed description of the land or a written documentation describing ones journey through the land proposing a kind of " traveller's guide". It can also be a survey of the region's territory from an expedition or an inspection tour.

           "Beating the Bound in Oxford, England." 05/01/08. Web, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfzGk3xcbq8
       Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press., "Perambulate." Last modified 2012. Accessed November 21, 2012. http://www.oed.com/search?searchType=dictionary&q=perambulate&_searchBtn=Search.
       Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press., "Perambulation." Last modified 2012. Accessed November 21, 2012. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/140512?redirectedFrom=perambulation
   Wikipedia, "Beating the Bounds." Last modified 2012. Accessed November 21, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beating_the_bound

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