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What percentage receive a Compostela?

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by Hermanita, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. Hermanita

    Hermanita New Member

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    I had read that in any given year, only 15% of those that embark on the Pilgrimage actually complete it. Or at least that only 15% receive a Compostela.

    That seems like a very low figure, so I am curious to know if there is a place that I might get these figures. I have seen in the forum numbers of pilgrims who complete the pilgrimage, but never the percentage as compared to those who started it.

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  2. falcon269

    falcon269 No commercial interests Donating Member

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    I would doubt the accuracy of any statistics because it depends on what question is being asked. Thousands walk in France with no intention of reaching Santiago. Thousands of Spanish walk for a few days on weekends. Tens of thousands walk just the last 100 km on various routes into Santiago de Compostela. If the question is how many who set foot on the thousands of kilometers of path that eventually lead to Santiago, then 15% may be a good guess. If the question is how many will be competing for a bed each night on the Camino Frances all the way to Santiago, the percentage will be much higher.
  3. nathanael

    nathanael Entering Zamora..Camino de la Plata.

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    On this subject, when I was in Santiago this summer June 23/09 I stayed in the city for 5 days to kill time before returning to Madrid. Two rude young Frenchmen with dreadlocks were refused the compostela due to not receive two stamps from their 100k onward. They were very angry and therefore very rude..but I believe their rudeness towards us was just their nature sorry for this assumption. I felt sorry for their two dogs who were under nourished and needed a good meal. I was fascinated by the dogs who had shells around their neck and wanted to take a picture of them but the owners were trying to extract money off of us and kept shouting shut up shut up and making signs of wanting money..their English was only the words of shut up, we refused and laughed at them and went our merry way. So yes their might be some truth of not everyone receiving a compostela. yet someone we got to know on the route who shouldn't have received a compostela received one. He took many buses so he didn't have to walk up those steep hills we know this by the fact that we left before him in the morning he never passed us and yet he was there ahead of us.
    Nevertheless the route enables one to meet many individuals who struggle and complete the Camino.
    ciao
  4. sillydoll

    sillydoll Active Member

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    This was posted on another forum a couple of years ago.

  5. Javier Martin

    Javier Martin New Member

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    There's many pilgrims who never receive their compostelas. For them the only important thing is to walk and enjoy the Camino, not a piece of paper. It's something normal when you have arrived several times to Santiago.

    Buen Camino, ┬┐is it important the Compostela?

    Javier Martin
    Madrid, Spain.
  6. kubapigora

    kubapigora Member

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    On one of our polish forums someone wrote: Camino is in your heart, not on the piece of paper.
    Some people are walking their camino for that piece of paper, but hopefully, when they arrive in Santiago, they will know, that it is only a piece of paper.
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  7. andy.d

    andy.d Member

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    Hmm. The Pilgrimage itself was of the utmost importance to me, and of course the Pilgrimage continues in all sorts of ways now I am home. But receiving the Compostela was also really important to me. Something I think to do with recognition by the Church that I'd done it. And hearing at the Pilgrim Mass the next day that I had arrived the day before. It still makes me really emotional to think about it.

    Andy
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  8. sillydoll

    sillydoll Active Member

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    I know what you mean Andy - in 2002 when the priest said "y tres dall Sud Africa" we hugged each other and said, 'that's US!"
    Although I am not a Christian I professed to having walked the camino for spiritual reasons and have 2 Compostelas. But, subsequently, I asked for the other certificate instead, knowing that I did not walk the camino for religious reasons. For me, the credencial with all its sellos is more valuable.
    The Compostela - as a certificate of completion - is a relatively new invention. It was introduced in this form in 1953 although records before 1970 have been lost.
    Although it is based on a 14thC document, it is now considered to be a 'souvenir' no longer necessary for proof to earn an indulgences as it was in the 14thC.
    Prior to the 'Compostela' or Autentica document a scallop shell was given as proof that one had walked to Santiago.

    Attached Files:

  9. andy.d

    andy.d Member

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    Yes Sil, and I know what you mean too. The Credencial and the sellos are so important aren't they. They are the thing, along with the photos, that I love to get out and look at and which help so much with remembering and reflecting.

    I had the great pleasure of lunch with Johnnie Walker last week at La Terazza in London. As John writes in his blog, the owner spent a long time looking at my Credencial from the Levante and talking about the Camino.

    Andy
  10. KiwiNomad06

    KiwiNomad06 Member

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    I've been thinking about this, the importance I do or don't attach to the Compostela. When I actually finished, the Compostela seemed just like a nice souvenir. The best part of getting it for me came when I was nearly at the front of the queue, and a French couple I had shared the room with the previous evening in Monte de Gozo pushed me ahead of themselves to get mine first. They knew how far it was from Le Puy, and they were acknowledging my achievement.

    Now my Compostela sits on my wall here at home, and funnily enough, it is becoming more important to me as time passes. For one thing, I realise it is quite possibly the only one I will ever get. Though I do have plans to walk other routes, I doubt I will ever walk the last 100km into Santiago again. I might visit Santiago again- but to see it as a tourist: as a pilgrim who walked in the last 100km, I was far more interested in seeing people I knew around the city than I was in seeing the sights.

    As time passes, the magnitude of my 'achievement' in walking all the way from Le Puy, becomes clearer to me. While I walked, I knew there was dogged determination required at times, but I was into the 'rhythm' and just kept going, even when my feet hurt and my ankles were painful. The Compostela is my tangible record of walking on to the end.

    But Compostela or not, I think my most wonderful moment on the whole Camino was reaching the top of O'Cebreiro on a fine day with clear views, and spending the afternoon and evening there in that historic and special place. It was the mountaintop of the whole experience. And after that, it just seemed like the last 150km was a 'walk in the park', to walk slowly and savour, as the end was nigh. But in my memory, being on top of O'Cebreiro will always be the real pinnacle of it all, and perhaps for me, that is my 'real' Compostela.
    Margaret
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  11. sillydoll

    sillydoll Active Member

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    Maggie - there is a similar discussion on the Compostela on another forum. Your post almost bears out what I said yesterday.

  12. KiwiNomad06

    KiwiNomad06 Member

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    I guess that the Walking is what is important for me sil....not the Destination. Though, having said that, my 'planning' for 'next time' includes a re-visiting of Le Puy- an important early Marian shrine- and a re-visiting of Lourdes. So maybe as a 'pilgrim' I identify more with Our Lady than with St James, and just don't fit the 'Compostela' mould.

    For a woman from Quebec who I walked with often from Cahors to Santiago though, it was reaching the Tomb of the Apostle in Santiago that was her goal, and she had to suffer with some intense knee pain to do it. She was carrying with her some medals owned by a friend of hers who was suffering from terminal cancer. She knew her friend was not going to recover, but it was an act of prayer to carry those medals and to finally place them on the tomb of St James for her friend.
    Margaret
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  13. sillydoll

    sillydoll Active Member

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    I was just re-reading a CSJ paper by Laurie Dennett on the Origins of the Compostela.

  14. Northern Light

    Northern Light New Member

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    The Compostela

    I would have thought that more than 15 % recieved it , by judging of the line outside the office :).
    Anyway it s a beautiful memory of the walk even of the main importance of all journeys or walks is the way we travel or go there.
    I m a very spiritual rock n roll atheist , if it makes sense but I m not religious so I assumed that I would not get the one written in latin. I was happy to discover that I actually could since there was a third alternative.
    I threw wishes out of my heart in Santiago , for people I carry and since I had to do the steps also a small wish even for me :). That meant more than the piece of paper. /M

    Attached Files:

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  15. JohnnieWalker

    JohnnieWalker Nunca se camina solo

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    There is a lot we don't know as data is not collected. We don't know the number of families or couples who walk together. We don't know the number of people who don't want the Compostela but simply ask for the sello of the Cathedral. The small number who are refused a compostela for whatever reason are not recorded. Also not recorded is the number of times Certificates are given to people people who, for example, walked a huge part of the journey but because of illness or another legitimate reason were not able to complete part of the the last 100 kms. Simlarly not recorded are the number of children under the approximate age of 7 who get certificates when walking with adults who recieve the Compostela.

    Add that to all the others who simply walk parts of camino routes all over Spain and never get to Santiago and we begin to realise why albergues are full :)
  16. sillydoll

    sillydoll Active Member

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    I refused a Compostela in 2007 and 2009 but asked for the other document. My details were still recorded.
  17. JohnnieWalker

    JohnnieWalker Nunca se camina solo

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    Sil

    You misread - you had travelled the distance and were invited to register. You then chose to tick the third box indicating you had no religious or spiritual motives for your pilgrimage. You then recieved the Certificate. For a variety of reasons some people are not invited to register and are therefore refused both the Compostela and the Certificate.

    Regards

    John
  18. gaulsdog

    gaulsdog New Member

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    I am sure the 2 French chaps and their dogs are just as entitled to a compostela as the hoards of Spanish that were arriving out side the small towns in their cars and mini buses when I walked in July and filling up the beds of genuine peligrinos which I think the 2 French chaps probably were. Just because how somebody might look to you is no reason to look down on them.
  19. sillydoll

    sillydoll Active Member

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    Thanks Johnnie.
    I actually asked for the other certificate and they were happy to give it to me.

    Oy - Gaulsdog!
    You will re-open the old can of worms with a term like 'genuine peligrinos'!!
    Previous debates have asked the question: Who is a genuine peregrino?
    Are they the Spaniards who walk to the tomb of their patron saint from the required 100km mark in order to revere the tomb of the saint, say confession, earn the indulgence - and the Compostela?
    Or, are 'genuine pilgrims' those who prefer a longer hike and then say that it is the journey that is important not the destination?
    The Archdiocese does not approve of the above statement. They say that the purpose of the pilgrimage is to arrive at the tomb of the saint, that it is this motivation that makes you a pilgrim, that walking the camino is not the important thing.
    They also do not care how many kilometers you have walked, as long as you have walked the last 100km to Santiago.
    They don't care if you did not carry a backpack - as long as you walked the required distance.
    It is modern day pilgrims who have added on all the other requirements.
    Remember - 12 million genuine Catholic pilgrims are expected to visit Santiago this year - only 225000 of those will walk some of the ways.
  20. Northern Light

    Northern Light New Member

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    800 km , with a backpack I came to learn how to carry . Loaded with life , sold out princess ways :) and a diabetic type 1 who dont get through a day without 4-5 injections. I m a fighter by heart and would like to think of myself as a peregrino :) . Ultreia!
    We all have different stories and reasons attached to us . I respect that others are there on their own journeys . Of course it isnt nice to arrive to full albergues and know that some made it there and took place in perhaps not so genuine ways - Hopefully somewhere inside them they are also aware of this. But we didnt walk to judge others . And I met so many beautiful souls throughout my ways -that weighed up those who werent . People cut out of a different kind .
    I can only speak of del Norte and the 3 last days before Santiago when we joined the other caminos we re different for me, but all experiences matters. Lets not do hierarki even in between pilgrims or the way of them. Some things are like the wild flowers - better left untouched .

    Buen Camino / M
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  21. daesdaemar

    daesdaemar Camino-holic

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    I have done the Camino Ingles and received a Compostela. I plan to do the Camino again, and can't really get too excited about whether I get another Compostela. So, I could be one of those who completes the Camino but doesn't get a Compostela (the second time around) simply because it's not that big a deal. The experience is the really big deal!
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  22. zakosdad

    zakosdad Member Donating Member

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    It was important to us to receive the Compostela - we did walk it for both spiritual and religious reasons - but the Compostela to us is more than that. It is a visual reminder to us and our family and friends that we stepped out of our comfort zone and placed our lives - our very well being - not only into the hands of God - but into the hands of everyone else along the Camino Frances - the residents who cared for us - the fellow peregrinos we walked and slept with. It is a reminder that as "older kids' at 67 & 68 we could do the Camino and do it well. The people we have inspired is unbelievable - they may not walk the Camino - but they do walk other paths - many much more difficult than the Camino - unemployment - sickness - among a few. We are so proud of our compostelas and credencials we had a frame made to display them - to encourage others.

    Buen Camino
    Dale [​IMG]
  23. as gaillimh

    as gaillimh Member

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    Compostela means noting to me, I got one in 2000, 2010, 2011, bur did not bother on 4 other occasions. The camino is in my heart not on piece of paper. Buen camino and happy Christmas to all pilgrims all over the world.
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  24. falcon269

    falcon269 No commercial interests Donating Member

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    On my first arrival in Santiago, I contemplated the need for a Compostela. After a couple of days of t-shirt store overdose, it came to me that it was the best souvenir available, and I headed for the Pilgrim Office. I have gotten one every time since. (I still do not have a miniature botafumeiro in silver-like plate, but I have purchased a miniature mojone.)
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  25. freeflyer123

    freeflyer123 Member Donating Member

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    Both my husband I are delighted to have received the much-coveted Compostelas. Sadly, we arrived on the day of the train crash on 24th July, and so would not have known if our names were given out and at which service. But the whole experience, we rode our bikes from Bayonne in France to Santiago, was amazing and we are thinking of doing it again if only because it has burned a loving place in our hearts that refuses to be extinguished.
  26. falcon269

    falcon269 No commercial interests Donating Member

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    They don't actually read the names of each pilgrim. It is done at the noon mass of the following day. It is a cumulative description, such as "two pilgrims from the USA who started in Sarria." I don't know if that makes you feel better, that you did not miss a great deal, but the sense of loss on that day must be enormous for those who were in Santiago.
  27. colinPeter

    colinPeter Member Donating Member

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    Good for you, it is an achievement that you can be proud of, and if it encourages someone else to step out and achieve something, not necessarily the Camino, then all the better.
    Buen Camino
    Colin
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  28. zakosdad

    zakosdad Member Donating Member

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    We picked up our compostelas the day we finished - spent the next day in the hospital trying to get an x-ray for an injured finger - went to Finisterre - then attended the Pilgrim Mass - so no we did not hear our names or countries identified - but that was not the point - it made no difference to us - our focus was on the Mass itself.

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