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First Pilgrim of 2021.... Sara?!?!?!

Camino(s) past & future
Frances (14), Portuguese (15), Le Puy (17), Ingles (17), VDLP (18), Lana (18), Madrid (19) + more
Hello!

I have a kooky idea that I would like to be the first pilgrim of 2021 to obtain a Compostela. I was thinking of spending late December in Spain anyhow.

I am not sure what the proper timing would be.....

Do I arrive at the Cathedral at the exact strike of midnight? Then enjoy the Santiago festivities and then line-up at the Pilgrim Office to be numero uno??

Or for the pilgrimage to count for the year 2021, do I start walking the 100km (from Sarria, Lugo etc.) very very early on January 1st and try to arrive before anyone else?

It would be a fun goal, awesome to way experience festive Santiago, and an unforgettable kick-off for the new year.

If anyone else if interested, you are welcome. Just keep in mind that you’ll be ‘number two’ and so forth after me. 😝
 
Last edited:

Island

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues 2019
Pilgrims' Way 2020
Via Francigena 2020
California Mission Trail 2020
The first pilgrim of the year is the first to arrive at the pilgrim office, not the first to arrive having begun in the calendar year.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Plus 100km in 24hrs — while possible, I guess — sounds life-threatening... Arrive Dec 31st, enjoy NYE and then go establish the pilgrim line! No matter what, you’ll save money by not getting a room that night...
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Hello!

I have a kooky idea that I would like to be the first pilgrim of 2021 to obtain a Compostela. I was thinking of spending late December in Spain anyhow.

I am not sure what the proper timing would be.....

Do I arrive at the Cathedral at the exact strike of midnight? Then enjoy the Santiago festivities and then line-up at the Pilgrim Office to be numero uno??

Or for the pilgrimage to count for the year 2021, do I start walking the 100km (from Sarria, Lugo etc.) very very early on January 1st and try to arrive before anyone else?

It would be a fun goal, awesome to way experience festive Santiago, and an unforgettable kick-off for the new year.

If anyone else if interested, you are welcome. Just keep in mind that you’ll be ‘number two’ and so forth after me. 😝
Rather be the first peregrina to walk through the holy door!
9 years ago after VdLP some of us talked about having dinner at the Parador 31.12.20 and walk through the holy door when it opens. Have not booked my flight yet, but may be!
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
... If anyone else if interested, you are welcome. Just keep in mind that you’ll be ‘number two’ and so forth after me. 😝
Really? That is what a pilgrimage is all about? Being number one? Shaking my head here ...

SY
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Wow. That's a FAR better way to spend New Year's eve than many people do.

And here's a thought:
Imagine you do that, and someone pips you at the post. Would you be disappointed or would you just laugh it off? Would you your ego be bruised, or would you (genuinely) be happy for them?
No need to let any of us know your answer. It's private.

But if after reflecting about it, you think you might be cultivating an identity or an ego soapbox - no matter how subtle - you may want to nip that in the bud and be the anonymous xth peregrina instead. Anyone can be a camino influencer, but what's much more special is the quiet humility that comes with deeply meeting the ultimate. If we're lucky the camino gives us access to that and it's worth more all the fame in the world.

And if you really have no ego hooks, go for it...
Buen camino either way!
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
In practical terms: usually, the Pilgrims Office is closed on the 1st of January. This year, for example, pilgrims could get their Compostela from 10 o’clock onwards in the sacristy of San Francisco. Being a Jacobean Holy Year, 2021 may have different arrangements, though.

But why not aim higher: try to become pilgrim number 400,000 or 500,000 In 2021. You’ll get a present, a few official handshakes, a photo and an article in La Voz de Galicia and you will not be just the first person in 2021 to achieve this, you will be the first person in modern history to achieve this. How’s that for bragging rights? 🤔
 

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
Hi Sara, looks like you would have to stay close by and come in early and get your credential from the Cathedral. The pilgrims' office states "The Pilgrim’s Reception Office is open during these hours every day of the year with the EXCEPTION of Christmas Day – 25th December, and New Year’s Day – 1st January. If you complete your pilgrimage on these days your Compostela can be obtained in the Cathedral. " I assume they would keep the same hours and open for Compostelas at 10am.
PS My wife and I love your YouTube videos, keep the good work up!
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
The first pilgrim of the year is the first to arrive at the pilgrim office, not the first to arrive having begun in the calendar year.
Hello!

I have a kooky idea that I would like to be the first pilgrim of 2021 to obtain a Compostela. I was thinking of spending late December in Spain anyhow.

I am not sure what the proper timing would be.....

Do I arrive at the Cathedral at the exact strike of midnight? Then enjoy the Santiago festivities and then line-up at the Pilgrim Office to be numero uno??

Or for the pilgrimage to count for the year 2021, do I start walking the 100km (from Sarria, Lugo etc.) very very early on January 1st and try to arrive before anyone else?

It would be a fun goal, awesome to way experience festive Santiago, and an unforgettable kick-off for the new year.

If anyone else if interested, you are welcome. Just keep in mind that you’ll be ‘number two’ and so forth after me. 😝
If you like competition, you could go and compete in marathons or something like that.
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-FIN(09/2018)
PORTO-SANT(11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe(01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT(09/2019)
Madrid(7/2020)
From a content pov it's a novel idea and I'm sure your followers would increase as a result. If thats your goal then go for it. Therefore a full Camino from Le Puy or St Jean to Santiago would be more impressive and gain you more followers so why not follow the same logic if same goal. Personally I think that the bragging rights of being numero uno to receive a Compestela in 2021 should be left to chance, an unsuspecting first time pilgrim or a pilgrim that has travelled more than than the minimum 100km requirement and I would much prefer to be pilgrim 2,021 because it would mean more and left to chance. I suspect if you continue with your goal others will be planning similar and there motivation may arguably be stronger as not only will they be attempting to achieve similar goal but they would have additional bragging rights at having prevented you from doing so. Ultreia 🤠
 
Last edited:

chinacat

Veteran Member
Imagine you do that, and someone pips you at the post. Would you be disappointed or would you just laugh it off?

From Sara’s previous posts, threads and videos, I imagine she would laugh it off.

She seems to be a cheerful, resilient woman with a fine sense of humour - I do hope respondents to her thread can see it in the light she intended it to be read.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
She seems to be a cheerful, resilient woman with a fine sense of humour - I do hope respondents to her thread can see it in the light she intended it to be read.
Read and talked about, that's the whole point and that's what we are doing, isn't it ☺? Because otherwise, if someone has the idea that it would be cool to be the first pilgrim in a new year, one would just go to the Pilgrims Office website, look up their opening hours for a given day and then be there early enough before everyone else. And the world wouldn't even have to know, would they? 😇
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (14), Portuguese (15), Le Puy (17), Ingles (17), VDLP (18), Lana (18), Madrid (19) + more
The idea is just for fun! I’ve always wanted to experience New Years Eve in Santiago. I hear you need to eat grapes! 🥳

It isn’t important for me to obtain a Compostela. I didn’t register at the pilgrim office on my last two Santiago arrivals. The experience of the journey is why I walk.

I would find it absolutely hilarious if others purposely lined-up before me. 😄 And if it was just by chance - I’d be even more impressed and offer a hearty congratulations!

Now that I think about it, the ‘prestige’ of being registered as pilgrim ‘numero uno’ is WAY less important than timing to arrive in the Cathedral square at the stroke of midnight. Plus then I can start any Camino combo towards Santiago - ideally a long 500 km+ way.

Many years ago I summited Mount Kilimanjaro overnight on New Years Eve. It was the most physically difficult trek in my life up to that point. Seeing the sun come up on the roof of Africa was a very special experience to welcome the New Year. I imagine staying up to watch the sunrise in the Santiago Cathedral square would be a similarly unique moment.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Just in case people are not aware of it: 2021 is a special year in Santiago de Compostela for pilgrims, whether they arrive on foot, by bus or otherwise, and it starts in the afternoon of 31 December 2020 when the Puerta Santa of the Cathedral is opened.

And the church year starts of course earlier, with Advent which falls on Sunday 29th November this time. Plenty of occasions for firsts. 🤗
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (14), Portuguese (15), Le Puy (17), Ingles (17), VDLP (18), Lana (18), Madrid (19) + more
I also would like to add that the Camino de Santiago has shaped my life and changed who I am as a person. I have colossal gratitude for the volunteers who make the modern pilgrimage possible.

We all have our unique reasons and style of walking to travel on Camino. I think there is no ‘correct’ way - as long as we are all respectful of each other. The reason I posted the question here was because I’ve never walked a Camino through year changes. I didn’t know if the start of a Camino or end of the Camino indicates the ‘Camino year’.

I hope this explanation makes sense!
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I, for one, totally understand and get it. You DID say at the outset that it was a kooky idea. I agree with your rationale and further expansion above.

BTW, I also followed your videos on You Tube, starting with around when you had your unfortunate incident on the Norte. Well done you!

That said, I would be willing to bet that if you queued up overnight on 1 January heading into 2 January, and slept rough, you MIGHT pull it off when they open on 2 January.

Being in the first 10 pilgrims you would also score the free lunch at the Parador, and perhaps the free pass to tour the Portico de la Gloria (if they are still handing out passes to the first 25 arriving pilgrims each day - except Sunday).

All this said, it is likely that someone else will attend midnight Mass at the Cathedral (should be fully reopened by then) and then present themselves at the Sacristy for a Compostela immediately after the Mass. If there is no midnight Mass on New Years Eve, then there will certainly be a pilgrim or two lurking for the doors to open so they can get to the Sacristy (if that is where it is done on New Years Day).

That would technically be the first Compostela issued in 2021. The next business day, 2 January, the folks at the Cathedral would likely carry the paperwork to the Pilgrim Office, where it would be input to the computer.

If you want me to research the exact process and location for handling Compostelas on Christmas Day and New Years Day, when the office is closed, send me a PM so we can connect offline. I will next be at the office in May when I arrive off the first half of the Camino Via de la Plata. If you want, I will put this on my 'to do' list. I have a list each year, both for my springtime post Camino arrival and for my summer volunteer stint.

Hope this helps.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
If you want me to research the exact process and location for handling Compostelas on Christmas Day and New Years Day, when the office is closed, send me a PM so we can connect offline.
That's a kind offer, @t2andreo, but don't you expect them to do the same as they did this year and post the details for 24 and 25 and for 31 December and 1 January on their blog on their website?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I had not read the aviso on the P/O website. If pilgrims follow this they should be okay.

I still don’t see the big deal about being first. To each his or her own.

Thank you for pointing this out.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
In practical terms: usually, the Pilgrims Office is closed on the 1st of January. This year, for example, pilgrims could get their Compostela from 10 o’clock onwards in the sacristy of San Francisco. Being a Jacobean Holy Year, 2021 may have different arrangements, though.

But why not aim higher: try to become pilgrim number 400,000 or 500,000 In 2021. You’ll get a present, a few official handshakes, a photo and an article in La Voz de Galicia and you will not be just the first person in 2021 to achieve this, you will be the first person in modern history to achieve this. How’s that for bragging rights? 🤔
That would be cool but I imagine it would be much, much harder to arrange. Even if one could predict more or less which day that number would fall on, I'm not sure how one could predict when to show up in line to receive the exact number.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
I just spent New Year's Eve in Santiago and I was there on New Year's Day in 2016. As above you will need to go to the Cathedral to get your Compostela on New Year's Day.
The Xmas period/New year's Eve this year will be full on/ packed and crazy, it backs onto a weekend and more people for me walked in 2015 when that happened than when I walked last year, lots more places were open to reflect this. This year backs onto a weekend again, the holy year starts on 1st January, and the door may be open but it could be Epiphany when it opens. It won't be just the CF, I looked at the figures for the Portugues route and ithe numbers walking in 2015 in December spiked in comparison to adjoining years, probably because of the weekend, the coastal route doubled in December this year and will probably do the same if not more next year.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
.. the holy year starts on 1st January, and the door may be open but it could be Epiphany when it opens. ...
No, sorry, but you are wrong. The Holy Year starts with the opening of the Holy Door on 31st December of the previous year (2020) and NEVER is delayed until Epiphany.
BC SY
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
I wasn't sure but it was what someone said to me, so this New year's Eve and the various routes to Santiago will probably the busiest they have ever been at that time of year. The whole month of December and people starting way back in SJPDP at the beginning of Dec will encounter larger numbers.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
... The whole month of December and people starting way back in SJPDP at the beginning of Dec will encounter larger numbers.
Sorry, also not true. Very few people start, even in a Holy Year, in Saint Jean, numbers on the last 100km of any Camino will increase certainly as a few, but not many, pilgrims will want to reach Santiago for the opening of the Holy Year. The real rush will start around Easter ...
BC SY
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
The larger numbers are relative to normal December starts and non festive finishes, that is what I am talking it about not the spring, summer or Autumn months. People do start way back for New Year's Eve. My 1st night in Carrion de Los Condes on the 14th Dec there was 12 pilgrims staying there. all but 4 had stated in SJPDP apart from 1 they were going to Santiago for new years eve, over the next few days. the numbers increased as people joined at Mansilas, Leon, Astorga all going to Santiago for New Years Eve, from further back people( SJPDP) people caught up with us but didn't pass us they wanted to there on the 31st. So people do start way back for New Year's Eve, and December this year may not match the numbers of those summer months but I've seen it twice now, a bubble of pilgrims which fill out the available albergues definitely from Astorga, 36 stayed at Pilar in Rabnal the night I was there, + others in a BB and about 6 to 8 ahead in Tiragu in Foncebaddon much larger than adjoining days.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
So people do start way back for New Year's Eve, and December this year may not match the numbers of those summer months but I've seen it twice now, a bubble of pilgrims which fill out the available albergues definitely from Astorga, 36 stayed at Pilar in Rabnal the night I was there, + others in a BB and about 6 to 8 ahead in Tiragu in Foncebaddon much larger than adjoining days.
I happen to have the daily numbers of arriving pilgrims for December 2019. They vary between 40 and 160 arrivals per day. Yes, there's an increase towards the end of the month: 65 pilgrims on 22 December and 125 on 29 December. The numbers have DOUBLED, wow :rolleyes:. That's one way of looking at it. The other way is saying that such an increase of such small numbers means nothing. In November 2019, every single day saw at least 125 pilgrims arrive and often many more.

You simply cannot conclude from such anecdotal evidence that there will be a massive influx of pilgrims for New Year's Eve 2020.

I boldly predict that the number of arriving Camino walkers will be insignificant compared to the number of locals living in Santiago and in Galicia and of other visitors who will be in Santiago on New Year's Eve 2020 and who wish to witness or experience the opening of the Holy Door or partake in NYE celebrations outside of their homes.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
Yes but on the Camino ( and this is my point) there will be a lot more, so people expecting a quiet Camino or not many pilgrims will be in for suprise. There was larger numbers who walked( for me) in 2015 because of the weekend, it showed in the larger number of places open because they had been booked by groups, I don't think I am wildly assuming that this year, weekend, holy year starting, door being open then the final stages at least will a lot busier than normal xmas- new year caminos. Praza Obrodorio will be packed not just with Galicians, but non walking pilgrims from all over the world, this is what happens in holy year.

What were the numbers for the 31st December, I don't have access to them?
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
What were the numbers for the 31st December, I don't have access to them?
The daily numbers of arrivals that the Pilgrims Office published on their website were 71, 125, 162 and 163 pilgrims for 28-31 December 2019, and the total for December 2019 is published as a little over 2700 pilgrims.

Also on the website are the totals for December 2008, 2009, and 2010. They are 1100, 1000, and 6000 registered arrivals respectively. So from wherever people take the basis for their predictions for this year's December, it's often not based on actual figures and behaviour patterns during the last Holy Year.
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
Last time I walked during a Holy Year, I'm not Catholic, but I walked through the Holy Door. I walked through it a few times, in fact. Since I don't have any sins, I got *credit* against any future infractions. Good insurance to have.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Last time I walked during a Holy Year, I'm not Catholic, but I walked through the Holy Door. I walked through it a few times, in fact. Since I don't have any sins, I got *credit* against any future infractions. Good insurance to have.
It's a popular joke and we are going to hear it a few more times between now and the 31st of December 2021 🤭. What surprised me, but I don't recall where I read, is the fact that the faithful don't even have to walk through the Holy Door to gain their plenary indulgence. I guess it's just something traditional and something that makes the experience more solemn and special.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
It's a popular joke and we are going to hear it a few more times between now and the 31st of December 2021 🤭. What surprised me, but I don't recall where I read, is the fact that the faithful don't even have to walk through the Holy Door to gain their plenary indulgence. I guess it's just something traditional and something that makes the experience more solemn and special.
@Kathar1na is correct as usual ;-) Here all info directly from the Cathedral website: http://catedraldesantiago.es/en/pilgrimage/#holy-year If you click on the two tabs with Jubilee on them, you get more info ...
BC SY
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Last time I walked during a Holy Year, I'm not Catholic, but I walked through the Holy Door. I walked through it a few times, in fact. Since I don't have any sins, I got *credit* against any future infractions. Good insurance to have.
Leaving aside the sin of pride, if you are not a Catholic, you probably didn't say confession and receive Communion. Without those, you didn't receive the Jubilee plenary indulgence. So you will have to look for your insurance elsewhere (which is likely what you would do as a non-Catholic).
 

ManyMiles2Go

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Last time I walked during a Holy Year, I'm not Catholic, but I walked through the Holy Door. I walked through it a few times, in fact. Since I don't have any sins, I got *credit* against any future infractions. Good insurance to have.
LOL, I like this. Good thing you are not Catholic, as a Catholic, you do not get "credit" for future sins :)
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Didn’t the practice of plenary indulgences fall into disuse years ago? (with regard to the RC Church)
Please correct me if I’m wrong.
Not officially - they remain part of official teaching though in practice many Catholics have little interest in indulgences.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
What surprised me, but I don't recall where I read, is the fact that the faithful don't even have to walk through the Holy Door to gain their plenary indulgence. I guess it's just something traditional and something that makes the experience more solemn and special.
Found it again, it is mentioned in Xacopedia which has a long article about the Holy Door.

One positive outcome of walking to Santiago is the fact that my knowledge about these things is a lot less shallow than it used to be, and it is nice to have this knowledge even when I can't or may not want to do the "leap of faith" that characterises those who do. The article mentions Jesus' words in John 10:9 (KJV) as a reference to the symbolic meaning of the Holy Door: I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. That makes a lot more sense than the brou-ha-ha about the ceremony of opening the door on 31 December 2020.
 


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