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Pilgrim in spirit?

Corned Beef

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
If hospitality is refused due to the 'pilgrim' not having the required paperwork do the normal rules of hospitality apply? Are they helped to find alternative accommodation or just sent on their way?

Thought @Rebekah Scott summed it up clearly but wondered if there was something missing on the follow up.
 
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Donativos only accept pilgrims. We constantly hear of those who stay at donativos and don't pay. These are not some "other" group. They are pilgrims.

I've never met a hiker or a tourist who wouldn't pay for their bed.
I've hesitated to ask this, but now can't help but wonder: how many people have you personally met while you and they were walking to Santiago? Hearsay is only that.

There are no shortage of tourists and vacationers on the camino whose main claim to being pilgrims is possession of a credencial. Any of us who have walked to Santiago have met them. Fortunately, in the spirit of hospitality, they are usually welcomed - and many become pilgrims by the time they get to Santiago. But in places that attract a lot of visitors in addition to pilgrims, the burden is becoming hard to bear and albergues can struggle as a result.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
My take on the issue of who may ask for a bed in a donativo albergue for pilgrims: if a bed is available, it is there for anyone presenting a credential. I have seen those who might be said to live along the camino being welcomed exactly the same as the brand new pilgrim two or three days into the CF. The task of the hospitalera/o is to provide a clean bed, a good meal and breakfast if they are part of the deal, a welcoming face and heart. If anyone wants to argue about who deserves a bed, check the rules of the associations. Agree or not, but credit the hospitaleros in place with on the spot authority drawn from their knowledge of the rules and also with common sense - it is not power, there is a difference.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
Agree or not, but credit the hospitaleros in place with on the spot authority drawn from their knowledge of the rules and also with common sense - it is not power, there is a difference.
Absolutely.
(@kirkie is there right now, and speaks with more authority of presence than the rest of us arguing from far away.)
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I have seen those who might be said to live along the camino being welcomed exactly the same as the brand new pilgrim two or three days into the CF.

Thank you. I was trying to find a way to express this notion earlier, and couldn't find the right words. You have.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
@kirkie is there right now, and speaks with more authority of presence than the rest of us arguing from far away.
When authority of presence, whatever that is, is an important criteria for engaging in knowledgeable discussion, I will give deference to anyone who uses it wisely. In the meantime, I will treat everyone with equal respect.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Fwiw, I don’t even see that condition on Gronze. All I see under Observaciones is this comment: The albergue maintains the spirit of Christian hospitality. Prayer after dinner.
If that has been removed, then it is good. I volunteered there in 2018 and only one person were denied a bed with us during that time. He was threatening other pilgrims and was a safety risk. Another chose not to stay because we could not accept pets. It is a wonderful place, but much less comfortable physically than some of the others where we have volunteered.
 

susanawee

susanawee
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
Whenever I've walked shorter sections not ending in Santiago, I always wished I could walk all the way there. It was difficult to stop and go home each time. So I still felt like a pilgrim. I know I feel different when on other hikes that are not Caminos. So for me, personally, there is a difference between the two. But it is a thin line, and difficult to judge from the outside.

I remember on my first camino a day when an older peregrina was not allowed to stay in Rabanal's Gaucelmo, because that day she'd had her pack transported. The day before she had fallen and injured her head. Despite the injury she continued walking, but still wasn't allowed in, because of the pack. I was allowed in because I had walked that day with my pack.  But I had skipped a part of my camino that year by train when I got sick, and that was acceptable somehow (I had confessed to the hospitaleros at the check-in). It seemed strange to me, and I felt really bad for that lady, who had had a difficult walking day up that hill with a wound on her head, and was sent away. She was invited to come over for tea, though. Was she not a pilgrim worthy a bed? To me she was, more than myself maybe. Thin lines.

I am taking the bus quite often at the moment on my current Camino. I wish I could walk every step, but several injuries make it impossible right now. Many would probably say that I'm not a pilgrim and don't deserve a bed in the albergues. To be honest, I always feel guilty taking an albergue bWuthed after having taken the bus. But I can't afford private rooms / hotels all the time, and the intention / hope is still to walk to Santiago, and I'm trying, walking in pain, whenever walking is possible. I do still feel like a pilgrim. But am I still one?

I also met several people this year who were on longer hikes through Europe, never planning to go on a pilgrimage, but who then somehow found themselves on a Camino route more or less accidentally (being told by locals, being asked about their credential which they had never heard about before) and went the direction of Santiago then after finding out more about it. They didn't start as pilgrims, and at least some of them didn't see themselves as pilgrims, but something was still drawing them into the direction. For me they were pilgrims without knowing it yet.

So to me there definitely is a difference, mainly about the state of mind while walking, but that is just a personal opinion.
With respect to paragraph two above concerning the lady with the head injury and the Albergue's requirement that to stay there, one had to be doing the Camino unsupported. I strongly feel that this requirement should be either scrapped or modified at the very least. Surely a hospitalero should be compassionate and welcoming to all pilgrims. There are many of us who have had to use the pack courier option due to injury or other reasons...who are we to judge-? Surely "a blind eye" could have been used here.
 

Bristle Boy

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
With respect to paragraph two above concerning the lady with the head injury and the Albergue's requirement that to stay there, one had to be doing the Camino unsupported. I strongly feel that this requirement should be either scrapped or modified at the very least. Surely a hospitalero should be compassionate and welcoming to all pilgrims. There are many of us who have had to use the pack courier option due to injury or other reasons...who are we to judge-? Surely "a blind eye" could have been used here.
Still on the theme of "spirit".
There are two types of pilgrim that use pack transport...those that choose to and those that have no choice in the matter and have to. That may be because of a temporary condition or through a permanent condition that dictates they would need to before they have left home
This facility would need to be factored in to a budget.
I cannot think of any camino that a pilgrim can undertake "unsupported". I can think of many examples of this "support" whether abstract or more tangible.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
Gronze says it is for pilgrims who start before Santo Domingo,
I was wondering how I knew on my first camino that that the albergue in the church at Granon was supposed to be available only to those who had walked from before Santo Domingo. I knew anything on my first camino because I read it in Brierley's "Camino de Santiago." I have just consulted my copy of the 2015 edition to find: "Albergue S. Juan Bautista... reserved for pilgrims who have travelled from further back than Santo Domingo." (p. 114) I have no idea where he got it.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
I was wondering how I knew on my first camino that that the albergue in the church at Granon was supposed to be available only to those who had walked from before Santo Domingo. I knew anything on my first camino because I read it in Brierley's "Camino de Santiago." I have just consulted my copy of the 2015 edition to find: "Albergue S. Juan Bautista... reserved for pilgrims who have travelled from further back than Santo Domingo." (p. 114) I have no idea where he got it.
Just checked a more recent version (2020) and it says the same thing.
 
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A few years ago,we reached a small town on the Via Francigen,
I can’t remember the name though
there was a fiesta going on and every hotel and pension was full
We were told that there was an albergue near the Priests house so off we went and were more than grateful to get a bed there along with 10 others
The hospitalero had provided tea, coffee and milk

The next morning we were the last to leave, and being the nosey critter that I am, I checked the donation box
Not a penny, not a euro!
I had spoken to a young man the night before who didn’t have a penny to his name and could not contribute

I had observed a French couple who had been given a private room
They had the latest gear with all the latest tech gizmos
We had seen them at the nice restaurant the evening before
They left without giving a penny
I actually felt ashamed of what the hospitalero might think of us so called “pilgrims”
we left a decent donation and when I read of “donativos“ I always remember that morning.

We don’t stay in albergues and we don’t class ourselves as pilgrims..( well maybe myself a little bit) but we do keep going back and back to the Camin.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
I am finding the comments about where pilgrims are rejected because they do not walk "unsupported" increasingly ironic. In the last few days, I have given up all my carefully crafted plans for this year's camino in order to respond to a call to serve as a hospitalera in Gaucelmo Albergue at Rabanal, where I understand that this requirement is currently in force. Because of neck and back arthritis, I find it increasingly difficult to carry a backpack. On the VdlP some years ago, I sent my pack forward on a particularly long day, when the taxi that carried it was largely full, partway, of pilgrims who did not want to walk so far. There being no regulations against it, I was relieved to just be able to carry less over the distance. Later on the VdlP, I was able to respond alone to a situation where I had to walk further and carry everything, and got through safely where a pilgrim had died en route earlier in the season. I have no simple answers to these situations. I shall do what I have contracted to do at Rabanal and I shall do what I need to do to remain safe when walking alone. Part of this is judgement. What am I able to do? In a town where there are other albergues, should I, as pilgrim or hospitalera, resent the regulations where I choose to stay or volunteer? I am not a member of the associaton which runs Gaucelmo at Rabanal. Those who are, presumably, determine the regulations. As a form of communal living, albergues must have some regulation and the donativos offer hospitality to those who might otherwise be unable to afford to walk lengthy pilgrimages. I am grateful for them, follow their regulations when staying in them on pilgrimage, and do what I can to help keep them open. (And yes, I know that I felt no qualms about choosing to stay in Granon when I thought that I did not qualify).
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Finisterre & Muxia (2018)
Camino Portuguese - Lisbon (2019)
I have found this a challenging post and thank the OP for provoking (intentionally or otherwise) such vigorous debate. I think it has morphed somewhat from what was asked to essentially from when to “Who is a Pilgrim ?” and I have reflected for a number of days on my own experience. What draws me back to walk a camino ? Why do I feel a difference walking to Santiago and shortly thereafter walking to Finisterre & Muxia ? These are my thoughts for what they are worth and are not meant as criticism (especially of anyone generous enough to serve as a hospitalero who makes a decision in accordance with the direction they are provided) or to cause any offence and apologies for the verbosity.

I think the question has (unusually) a simple answer. Someone who goes on a pilgrimage. That leads to the more difficult question; what is a pilgrimage ? I have read the various definitions proffered. I have struggled with any definition (Wikipedia) that doesn’t include a destination. Surely the point of a pilgrimage is to go somewhere ? While a wander in the wilderness for 40 days maybe considered a journey of self-discovery or enlightenment and undoubtedly spiritual, I personally find it too esoteric to be termed a pilgrimage. It’s akin to the recent interview of a B grade actress speaking “her truth”. She may have a version of events but there is the truth and then there is not. While the journey is to me critical, and to many the essence, surely the destination is the point ? If it were not, why is there so much emotion exhibited daily in Plaza de Obradoiro ?? How many of those new arrivals interviewed on camino Day 1 would give the same answer to the question in the Plaza?

Clearly a pilgrimage is historically of a religious nature, but as language has morphed it now may be more spiritually based. Perhaps a good example would be the “pilgrimage” of thousands of antipodeans to the battlefields of the Dardanelles each April. Having said that, I have heard many describe it as a pilgrimage in sacred terms, but I cannot recall anyone calling themselves a pilgrim who has done so. The term pilgrim and pilgrimage are used loosely akin to someone today being described as a “crusader”.

So what does this mean for us on a Camino ? Well the destination of Santiago is historically one of the major Christian pilgrimage sites in the middle ages as we know. It was traditional to walk out the door to the destination and then to walk back – who does that ? Is that the true pilgrim some have spoken of ? The routes taken were not prescribed and changed with time, hence the plethora of options we have today especially in Northern Spain. There was no 100km minimum distance. Tradition tells us St James returned by boat with some associates to a point only about 25km south of his current resting place – the original camino ? There were no designated start points like SJPP – a modern construct. So a lot of the debate on distance walked, pack carriage even modes of transport I find somewhat irrelevant to being termed “a pilgrim”. Certainly there were no bikes or other forms of mechanical transport. So what ? Well I therefore find it unnecessary to get wrapped around the axels over the label “Pilgrim”. I find it particularly interesting the enthusiasm for the label from those who state they are non-religious or those that are not intending to venerate the bones of St James at Santiago. Why be bothered ?

I think we all agree (and this discussion/forum affirms) that there is something special about a Camino that comes not from collecting stamps on a credential or being awarded a compostella. We talk about the “camino providing” but it doesn’t does it. It is the people on the trail, regardless of label, that provide in a spirit that I’ve not found on any other walking trail short or long. A spirit of humanity and generosity of spirit, dare I say it living the central Christian tenant of doing unto others…. Perhaps the focus on pieces of paper and labels means we overlook that point and end up turning away genuine humans in need ? We have all witnessed, I’m sure, first hand compassion, selflessness and kindness to total strangers that leaves you reinvigorated in humanity and makes you wonder what changes when we all go home ?

So to all my fellow “Caminoists” (some of whom may also be Pilgrims) what does it matter what you are called ? Focus on your raison d’etre and the spirit of the Camino, forget the labels, forget the judgements and worrying over who really is a true pilgrim and keep it simple. In the words of someone known to St James, just “pick up your mat and walk”.

PS Christianity does not belong to the Roman Catholic faith and the veneration of a Saint’s bones is not the preserve of the catholic faith. Pilgrimage is not limited to Catholicism or for that matter Christianity. Ask a Hindu at the Ganges, or a Muslim circling the Kabaa at Mecca.

PPS What is a “non-practicing Athiest” ?? (@ Antonio Vaessen) Or for that matter what does someone do if they are a practicing Athiest :)
 
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Bristle Boy

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
I have found this a challenging post and thank the OP for provoking (intentionally or otherwise) such vigorous debate. I think it has morphed somewhat from what was asked to essentially from when to “Who is a Pilgrim ?” and I have reflected for a number of days on my own experience. What draws me back to walk a camino ? Why do I feel a difference walking to Santiago and shortly thereafter walking to Finisterre & Muxia ? These are my thoughts for what they are worth and are not meant as criticism (especially of anyone generous enough to serve as a hospitalero who makes a decision in accordance with the direction they are provided) or to cause any offence and apologies for the verbosity.

I think the question has (unusually) a simple answer. Someone who goes on a pilgrimage. That leads to the more difficult question; what is a pilgrimage ? I have read the various definitions proffered. I have struggled with any definition (Wikipedia) that doesn’t include a destination. Surely the point of a pilgrimage is to go somewhere ? While a wander in the wilderness for 40 days maybe considered a journey of self-discovery or enlightenment and undoubtedly spiritual, I personally find it too esoteric to be termed a pilgrimage. It’s akin to the recent interview of a B grade actress speaking “her truth”. She may have a version of events but there is the truth and then there is not. While the journey is to me critical, and to many the essence, surely the destination is the point ? If it were not, why is there so much emotion exhibited daily in Plaza de Obradoiro ?? How many of those new arrivals interviewed on camino Day 1 would give the same answer to the question in the Plaza?

Clearly a pilgrimage is historically of a religious nature, but as language has morphed it now may be more spiritually based. Perhaps a good example would be the “pilgrimage” of thousands of antipodeans to the battlefields of the Dardanelles each April. Having said that, I have heard many describe it as a pilgrimage in sacred terms, but I cannot recall anyone calling themselves a pilgrim who has done so. The term pilgrim and pilgrimage are used loosely akin to someone today being described as a “crusader”.

So what does this mean for us on a Camino ? Well the destination of Santiago is historically one of the major Christian pilgrimage sites in the middle ages as we know. It was traditional to walk out the door to the destination and then to walk back – who does that ? Is that the true pilgrim some have spoken of ? The routes taken were not prescribed and changed with time, hence the plethora of options we have today especially in Northern Spain. There was no 100km minimum distance. Tradition tells us St James returned by boat with some associates to a point only about 25km south of his current resting place – the original camino ? There were no designated start points like SJPP – a modern construct. So a lot of the debate on distance walked, pack carriage even modes of transport I find somewhat irrelevant to being termed “a pilgrim”. Certainly there were no bikes or other forms of mechanical transport. So what ? Well I therefore find it unnecessary to get wrapped around the axels over the label “Pilgrim”. I find it particularly interesting the enthusiasm for the label from those who state they are non-religious or those that are not intending to venerate the bones of St James at Santiago. Why be bothered ?

I think we all agree (and this discussion/forum affirms) that there is something special about a Camino that comes not from collecting stamps on a credential or being awarded a compostella. We talk about the “camino providing” but it doesn’t does it. It is the people on the trail, regardless of label, that provide in a spirit that I’ve not found on any other walking trail short or long. A spirit of humanity and generosity of spirit, dare I say it living the central Christian tenant of doing unto others…. Perhaps the focus on pieces of paper and labels means we overlook that point and end up turning away genuine humans in need ? We have all witnessed, I’m sure, first hand compassion, selflessness and kindness to total strangers that leaves you reinvigorated in humanity and makes you wonder what changes when we all go home ?

So to all my fellow “Caminoists” (some of whom may also be Pilgrims) what does it matter what you are called ? Focus on your raison d’etre and the spirit of the Camino, forget the labels, forget the judgements and worrying over who really is a true pilgrim and keep it simple. In the words of someone known to St James, just “pick up your mat and walk”.

PS Christianity does not belong to the Roman Catholic faith and the veneration of a Saint’s bones is not the preserve of the catholic faith. Pilgrimage is not limited to Catholicism or for that matter Christianity. Ask a Hindu at the Ganges, or a Muslim circling the kabala at Mecca.

PPS What is a “non-practicing Athiest” ?? (@ Antonio Vaessen) Or for that matter what does someone do if they are a practicing Athiest :)
It was always about "Pilgrim in spirit" and not about Pilgrim in name.
A name doesn't define you,
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Finisterre & Muxia (2018)
Camino Portuguese - Lisbon (2019)
It was always about "Pilgrim in spirit" and not about Pilgrim in name.
A name doesn't define you,
Have another read of the original post rather than just the title. "So, are we pilgrims when we want to walk part of a Camino or are we just hikers?"
 

Bristle Boy

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Have another read of the original post rather than just the title. "So, are we pilgrims when we want to walk part of a Camino or are we just hikers?"
That is what I have done. The narrative confirms this in the Original Post. The hikers and not Pilgrims confirmed this. One iwas walking the Camino in faith and the other is not.
That is what I have attempted to do and is my understanding. It is not, for me, about the nomenclature of a religion which separates but the commonality of faith which unites.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Finisterre & Muxia (2018)
Camino Portuguese - Lisbon (2019)
That is what I have done. The narrative confirms this in the Original Post. The hikers and not Pilgrims confirmed this. One iwas walking the Camino in faith and the other is not.
That is what I have attempted to do and is my understanding. It is not, for me, about the nomenclature of a religion which separates but the commonality of faith which unites.
Gotcha ! I think we are arguing in unison !
 
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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I have found this a challenging post and thank the OP for provoking (intentionally or otherwise) such vigorous debate. I think it has morphed somewhat from what was asked to essentially from when to “Who is a Pilgrim ?” and I have reflected for a number of days on my own experience. What draws me back to walk a camino ? Why do I feel a difference walking to Santiago and shortly thereafter walking to Finisterre & Muxia ? These are my thoughts for what they are worth and are not meant as criticism (especially of anyone generous enough to serve as a hospitalero who makes a decision in accordance with the direction they are provided) or to cause any offence and apologies for the verbosity.
No need to apologise. You provide quite a good and comprehensive answer to a vague question that oscillates between "What makes me/why do I feel that I am a pilgrim and not a hiker or tourist"; "How do I recognise a pilgrim" (when s/he knocks on my door) and "How to define contemporary pilgrim and pilgrimage".

Just a few remarks (and please take them in the same spirit as you wrote your comment).

The term pilgrim and pilgrimage are used loosely akin to someone today being described as a “crusader”.
An unusual choice for a description imho. While "crusader" and "pilgrim" were once indeed synonyms, the term has today so many associations that I don't see its usefulness in this context.

as language has morphed it now may be more spiritually based. Perhaps a good example would be the “pilgrimage” of thousands of antipodeans to the battlefields of the Dardanelles each April. Having said that, I have heard many describe it as a pilgrimage in sacred terms, but I cannot recall anyone calling themselves a pilgrim who has done so.
A good observation: Being on a pilgrimage in the wider contemporary sense of the term does not mean that we would regard ourselves or those who are on such a pilgrimage as pilgrims. Something to bear in mind when the next discussion on this topic comes along and definitions will be proffered which will inevitably happen.

I like your Caminoist but it is not going to catch on. Neither will Camino walker or the Spanish Caminante which would be my preferred terms, all things considered.

When we discuss "pilgrim" and "pilgrimage" we actually limit our discussion to the topic at heart: foot pilgrims and foot pilgrimage - yes, there are bikes and horses and wheelchairs and sailing boats but they are a small minority. We exclude bus pilgrimage and bus pilgrims - while they are huge in numbers today. We are travelling to Santiago in a supposedly "traditional" manner and there is a firm idea that this must involve considerable physical effort although we agree that the intention ought to be spiritual. As I said before, there are a number of inconguencies in the theoretical framework of Camino thinking and philosophy :cool:. You rightly pointed out one of the main factors that make the Camino de Santiago so unique: the hospitality network and the largely open, genuinely friendly and welcoming interaction between all the people involved in all things Camino. Thanks again!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Finisterre & Muxia (2018)
Camino Portuguese - Lisbon (2019)
No need to apologise. You provide quite a good and comprehensive answer to a vague question that oscillates between "What makes me/why do I feel that I am a pilgrim and not a hiker or tourist"; "How do I recognise a pilgrim" (when s/he knocks on my door) and "How to define contemporary pilgrim and pilgrimage".

Just a few remarks (and please take them in the same spirit as you wrote your comment).


An unusual choice for a description imho. While "crusader" and "pilgrim" were once indeed synonyms, the term has today so many associations that I don't see its usefulness in this context.


A good observation: Being on a pilgrimage in the wider contemporary sense of the term does not mean that we would regard ourselves or those who are on such a pilgrimage as pilgrims. Something to bear in mind when the next discussion on this topic comes along and definitions will be proffered which will inevitably happen.

I like your Caminoist but it is not going to catch on. Neither will Camino walker or the Spanish Caminante which would be my preferred terms, all things considered.

When we discuss "pilgrim" and "pilgrimage" we actually limit our discussion to the topic at heart: foot pilgrims and foot pilgrimage - yes, there are bikes and horses and wheelchairs and sailing boats but they are a small minority. We exclude bus pilgrimage and bus pilgrims - while they are huge in numbers today. We are travelling to Santiago in a supposedly "traditional" manner and there is a firm idea that this must involve considerable physical effort although we agree that the intention ought to be spiritual. As I said before, there are a number of inconguencies in the theoretical framework of Camino thinking and philosophy :cool:. You rightly pointed out one of the main factors that make the Camino de Santiago so unique: the hospitality network and the largely open, genuinely friendly and welcoming interaction between all the people involved in all things Camino. Thanks again!
Thanks for your comments. Some editing occurred ! The connection with the use of the word Crusader, which was after all an armed pilgrimage, was around the changing nature and application of words. I would be really interested in languages other than English whether Pilgrim and pilgrimage are still specific or have have similarly morphed.

I don't think we should at all limit it to foot traffic. Is someone flying to Santiago to venerate ST James not a Pilgrim ??? I think those of us who do it on shank's pony can sometimes be a bit precious.

Slightly shocked at your comment on Caminoist. For the record I meant to put Caminoist ™ :)
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Not a bad post, Blister Bill, but pilgrimage is not determined by a means of transport, and those visiting the Tomb of the Apostle for religious reasons by car, bus, train, or plane are also pilgrims.

So that whatever the definition may be, on the Camino in practical terms, it refers to foot pilgrims, bike, horse, donkey, maritime, wheelchair, and others who are eligible in principle to obtain a Compostela, so that it also includes handicapped pilgrims using motor assistance.

But that does not make those ineligible for the certificate pilgrims any the less, it just means that a certain type of infrastructure is not purposed for them. And I might suggest that the definition of a Pilgrimage in the terms of this infrastructure can be found in one's Credencial and in the Compostela certificate itself, which is to have travelled to the Tomb of the Apostle by one of those means, and for a religious or spiritual purpose ; bearing in mind that even the non-religious Camino completion document supposes that at least an unconscious purpose thereto exists in the fact of having completed the Camino following those conditions, which are formally religious in structure.

I won't discuss the religious points in your post, but only hereabove those points that seem more pertinent to this particular pilgrimage.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I don't think we should at all limit it to foot traffic. Is someone flying to Santiago to venerate ST James not a Pilgrim ??? I think those of us who do it on shank's pony can sometimes be a bit precious.
Of course they are. At least in my book. What I meant to say: that the core of our discussion threads is about pilgrimage on foot and pilgrims on foot, especially when the question was raised whether one feels as a pilgrim or a hiker/walker while out walking. The backpacks, the albergues, the one night only stay, all this is specific to walking towards Santiago and not any other means of transport. Yes, I know that I am wilfully ignoring the bikers and horseback riders and other groups. I beg them for forgiveness.

Slightly shocked at your comment on Caminoist. For the record I meant to put Caminoist ™ :)
Noted. 😀
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Finisterre & Muxia (2018)
Camino Portuguese - Lisbon (2019)
Not a bad post, Blister Bill, but pilgrimage is not determined by a means of transport, and those visiting the Tomb of the Apostle for religious reasons by car, bus, train, or plane are also pilgrims.

So that whatever the definition may be, on the Camino in practical terms, it refers to foot pilgrims, bike, horse, donkey, maritime, wheelchair, and others who are eligible in principle to obtain a Compostela, so that it also includes handicapped pilgrims using motor assistance.

But that does not make those ineligible for the certificate pilgrims any the less, it just means that a certain type of infrastructure is not purposed for them. And I might suggest that the definition of a Pilgrimage in the terms of this infrastructure can be found in one's Credencial and in the Compostela certificate itself, which is to have travelled to the Tomb of the Apostle by one of those means, and for a religious or spiritual purpose ;
That was precisely my point. How you get there is immaterial - it's the destination. Are you going to achieve a piece of paper or to venerate the remains of a saint ?

What I am interested in though is your thoughts on what is a "True Pilgrim" as you define yourself.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
What I am interested in though is your thoughts on what is a "True Pilgrim" as you define yourself.
As I said earlier, I have completely given up trying to define that one. It's just a certain kind of pilgrim though, and no pilgrim is "better" than any other, just because of some qualifying epithet, such as "foot" versus "bike".
 

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
I am sure this thread will generate opinions, so please let's be civil to each other. I just want to reflect on what makes us feel different between hiking and pilgrimage.

This has made me reflect this morning... I am heading out tomorrow on a 50 Miler with the scouts (youth looking for adventure, adults helping make it possible). It's going to be a bike/canoe/hike trip, with a ten hour service project thrown in. Am I going as a hiker (yes), as a pilgrim (kind of.) I try to maintain my attitude of pilgrimage even off the camino-- I do not always achieve that. I ask myself "What do I mean by that?" For me, I mean that I maintain an approach to the day with gratefulness, with openness, with thoughts towards Christ, moving towards a goal, moving towards kindness. I am a practicing Catholic, so going to mass or stopping to pray (and not feeling judged for doing so) is always a refocusing and a help to me.

About the two youths looking for a cheap bed on a hike. I wonder, are they keeping pilgrims who needs a bed from a having a place to rest. At the same time, I wonder would time spent with older hikers, with people on pilgrimage affect them? Would one day, the memory come back to them, and one day walk as pilgrims?

I have two sons. One who has walked with me the whole Way, and one who joined us for a few days and was really just out for a hike (or stroll) around Spain. He was appalled by the bedtimes at the albergues, he was appalled at the early morning wake up. He spent a few nights on the Camino with us, and then left us for a youth hostel, and met up with us weeks later in Santiago. -- I hope (and I also pray) that someday, he will walk as a pilgrim.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
It looks as if the Covid lockdowns in early 2020 has had an effect as since the lockdown the percentage of Pilgrims declaring that they walked with no religious intent has more than doubled. See a graph of the data since 2016, from the Pilgrim Office in Santiago de Compostela below.

View attachment 130833
Very interesting. Numbers don't lie (except when they do), but my anecdotal guess would have been that far more than 10% of pilgrims pre-Covid, and 20% now, do the pilgrimage for non-religious reasons.
 
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Marc S.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
Very interesting. Numbers don't lie (except when they do), but my anecdotal guess would have been that far more than 10% of pilgrims pre-Covid, and 20% now, do the pilgrimage for non-religious reasons.

Maybe numbers don't lie, but numbers can be confusing. I have always found it difficult to interpret the officina statistics on this point and never quite understood the meaning of ´religious and other motivation´ when there already is a category for ´religious motivation´ .
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I have always found it difficult to interpret the officina statistics on this point and never quite understood the meaning of ´religious and other motivation´ when there already is a category for ´religious motivation´ .
Also, they appear to have changed the labels of their three categories for their statistics. Below is a copy of the manual form that Ivar posted in October 2020 and that pilgrims fill in to obtain their Compostela.

The three categories on this manual form are religious, spiritual; and sport and tourism; while the online form has no religioso; religioso; religioso y otros (with no translation from Spanish into English).

Online forms were introduced towards the end of 2019.

BTW, I don't know much about behaviour patterns ... but for all I know some people may just tick the first option whatever it is. 😎

form-jpg.86319
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
BTW, I don't know much about behaviour patterns ... but for all I know some people may just tick the first option whatever it is. 😎

Don´t know much about behaviour patterns either. I can also imagine people ticking as many boxes as possible, as the form does not state a maximum number of boxes that can be ticked.

Consequently I wonder how many people tick just one box, and how many tick multiple boxes, as it seems very common to me to have multiple motivations.

And it would of course be interesting to know (well not for everyone I suspect😇) how the Officina integrates the multiple-box-tickers into their statistics.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
how many people tick just one box, and how many tick multiple boxes, as it seems very common to me to have multiple motivations
FWIW, the online form allows only one box to be ticked.

You are correct about multiple motivations. Also, as far as I can make out (and I think this had been discussed some time ago) in earlier years the three options for the Oficina's data collection were apparently religious; religious-cultural; and not religious (I am not 100% sure about the third label). And you did not get a Compostela when you picked the last (third) category.

It would be more meaningful, statistics wise, if people could indicate their main motivation, or classify their motivations by importance. Studies about the contemporary pilgrimage phenomenon have done this.
 
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SioCamino

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Don´t know much about behaviour patterns either. I can also imagine people ticking as many boxes as possible, as the form does not state a maximum number of boxes that can be ticked.

Consequently I wonder how many people tick just one box, and how many tick multiple boxes, as it seems very common to me to have multiple motivations.

And it would of course be interesting to know (well not for everyone I suspect😇) how the Officina integrates the multiple-box-tickers into their statistics.
IIRC the admin system always had "no religioso; religioso; religioso y otros" even though the paper form was different. We were told that anyone ticking "spiritual" should be allocated to religios & otros. A touristic Compostela was only given out if only the turismo reason was picked (to the exclusión of the other options)
But i would take this data with a VERY large pinch of salt especially since the move to online forms. Before the pilgrim would ask for guidance at the desk, now they are just ticking whatever on the form. (not sure people even read the options half the time)
 
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2023
IIRC the admin system always had "no religioso; religioso; religioso y otros

Yes, as far as I can tell these headings have been consistent since 2004. What did change immediately after the lockdown was that the Pilgrim Office preferred contactless processing and so Pilgrims were pushed towards the online system.

This then leaves open the question of if Pilgrim motivation for walking has changed dramatically or if using the new online system without advice from staff/volunteers in the Pilgrims Office has somehow changed what Pilgrims record.

Of course we may have our own opinion on this but our opinion is just that, an opinion.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
IIRC the admin system always had "no religioso; religioso; religioso y otros" even though the paper form was different.
In their published statistics they may well have always used the three categories of no religioso; religioso; religioso y otros but that was not the case for their questionnaire. I can't find an actual copy of earlier questionnaires but there are forum threads from about ten years ago where people say so and also numerous studies.

Just one example: The number of persons requesting the Compostela in 2012 was 180,661--79,490 for religious reasons alone (41%), and 101,171 (52.5%) for religious/cultural reasons while those traveling for cultural (non-religious) reasons was only 6.1% (11,827 persons). The source is an essay by Maryjane Dunn (a name well known in Camino circles) but there are numerous others who mention these same three categories.

That they dropped "cultural" and replaced it by "spiritual" in option 2 is perhaps a reflection of the changes in the pilgrim demographic. I vaguely remember a quote that described the development of the contemporary pilgrimage to Santiago between 1970 and 2000 along these lines: First came the professors, then came the students ... (alas, I can't remember who came next to walk the Camino de Santiago in significant numbers according to this observation).
 
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SioCamino

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Yeah @Kathar1na that's what i meant. At the office the pilgrim would fill in the form with the 3 distinct options that didn't map one to one to the options we had recording their details on the computer. Now the online form aligns with the admin system (and any published stats would have always been based on the admin system not the paper forms).

And speaking as someone who works with statistics and data - rubbish in (data) rubbish out (statistics)
And as someone who has worked in the office - I wouldn't rely on the stats/data on motivation for any reliable conclusions or meaningful analysis.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I seem to remember that back in the day, religious or spiritual was the same box tick option, then it was cultural, then other. Also that the employees/volunteers would discuss with people what they meant by "cultural", in that many seemed to think that something like "cultural Catholic" was different to religious, but in these terms it isn't really.

They'd have similar discussions with the "other" box-tickers, who were often the cyclists with primarily sports reasons, to see what their secondary motivations might have been.

There was a real sense anyway of a desire to provide the Compostela, rather than the other thing, to as many as possible.

I would suppose that sheer numbers nowadays, plus the IT-ification of the whole process means that whichever box is ticked just sticks.
 

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