In contrast to penance, there is joy, another human response. In addition to leaving our clutter at home, we can also set aside the things that drag us down, that prevent us from being more human, if not more Christ-like.
Festive dimension. The penitential aspect of pilgrimage is complemented by a festive aspect: the festive dimension also lies at the heart of pilgrimage, and arises from many anthropological reasons.
Psalm 122, of course:
The joy of a Christian pilgrimage is a continuation of the joy experienced on Israel’s pious pilgrimage to Jerusalem:”I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘let us go up to God’s house'” (Ps 122, 1); pilgrimage can be a break from the monotony of daily routine; it can be an alleviation of the burdens of every day life, especially for the poor whose lot is heavy; it is an occasion to give expression to Christian (community), in moments of friendship meeting each other, and spontaneity which can sometimes be repressed.
In other words, party on!
Consult the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy online at the Vatican site.