Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela At Galicia, Spain, probably the world's greatest pilgrimage

The city of Santiago de Compostela became the seat of St James the Great (whose feast day this is), from the legend of his body having been miraculously translated there.

When his relics were being conveyed from Jerusalem, where he died, to Spain, in a ship of marble, the horse of a Portuguese knight plunged into the sea with its rider. When rescued, the knight's clothes were found to be covered with scallop shells.

It might be that the use of the scallop device derives from the pilgrims' using shells as primitive cups and spoons, or it might derive from the earlier Roman festival of the sea god and goddess, Neptune and Salacia (July 23, qv). Pilgrims to the shrine wore, and often still wear, a scallop shell on cloak or hat ...

The pilgrimage to Compostela became almost as popular and important in medieval Europe as that to Jerusalem. Because of this, seventeen English peers and eight baronets have scallop shells in their arms as heraldic charges. Note that it is not only in Europe that scallops and pilgrimages go together. In 19th-Century Japan, too, certain pilgrims adorned themselves with scallop shells.

The pilgrimage, known as the Camino (Camino de Santiago or Way of St James), is as popular today as it was in the Middle Ages. Tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world, not all of them Roman Catholic, make the journey on foot. The pilgrimage, probably the most famous on the planet, goes for about 900 kilometres, from France to Spain, and takes about a month ...

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

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Anonymous Ivar Rekve said...

Nice post!

For more information on the pilgrimage to Santiago, have a look at the new Xacobeo site (in English):

Greetings from Santiago,

9:21 PM  

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