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The most Pilgrim rituals of the Camino

Peter Fransiscus

Do good and good will come to you.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
#1

The most pilgrim rituals of the Camino

All kinds of "memories" dot the last fifteen kilometers of the French route
PACO RODRÍGUEZ


DAVID COSTOYA SL SANTIAGO / LA VOZ
08/26/2018 05:00 H

The last fifteen kilometers of the French Way are reflected in the faces of the pilgrims with a mixture of joy and exhaustion, because they know that their destination, Compostela, is already around the corner, or almost. The final sprint starts around the Lavacolla airport and, leaving it behind, a series of paths begins among the vegetation, alternating with stretches through the small population centers until reaching Monte do Gozo. The cairns with the yellow scallop will escort the passage of the pedestrians, although they will not be the only companions on the route. On all sides you can see the marks that other pilgrims went through there before: pebbles, religious prints, stickers and even clothes.

Before arriving at the village of San Paio, the strategic placement of a sneaker on a "Do not pass" sign is surprising. Beside this, multiple stickers dot a street lamp, and a heart-shaped painting looks like a stone-topped landmark.
Abandoning the small town is San Paio, the walkers go back into the vegetation. This section runs between trees, dirt trails, and the passage through a tunnel to cross the highway. Further on, the route shows houses and farms, and ultimately leads to Lavacolla. The walkers make a stop on the way to drink water at the fountain of the church of San Paio de Sabugueira. There you can also see the passage of other pilgrims, for example with messages such as "You will always walk by my side Patrick, Carlos", an anonymous inscription that since July of this year looks on a sign of the route.

When crossing the national road in the direction of Vilamaior, the pilgrims pass by the Lavacolla stream, where since medieval times, its banks were a point to be thoroughly cleaned before entering the city. Today there is a walkway, where many stop to regain strength. In Vilamaior, the smell of rough work welcomes pilgrims, but so does a bicycle saddle and an apple, which are stacked in perfect balance on top of a landmark.
As you pass the neighboring village of Neiro, a large fence with hundreds of crosses made with branches and eucalyptus leaves is striking. The allusion to religion is clear, although possibly many pilgrims left there their mark by inertia and imitation.

The route continues towards Monte do Gozo, where there is more affluence of walkers. Already in this natural balcony to the city, the arrival of pilgrims is attested by the hundreds of memories that "decorate" the monument of the place. From photographs, shoes and hats, all kinds of effects hang from the reliefs as if it were an offering. There are also missing the recurring stones. On the other hand, a few meters from the place, crosses are erected with branches, from which generally pieces of clothing also hang.
However, the "big altar" pilgrim is the signpost indicating the entrance to Santiago. The ritual sends out the photo of rigor, but in this sign you can barely distinguish the letters due to all the stickers, shoes, flags and all kinds of physical witnesses of the arrival of the walkers who are cramming it.

Leave stones to abandon the sorrows and create community


The passage of the walkers is commonly marked by simple pebbles. These form small agglomerations, which are usually located in the cairns of the Jacobean Route. Nobody knows who started them, but almost all the signs that shine the arrow and yellow scallops are topped by these mounds.
Originally, when there was no formal signage, it is believed that the small piles of stones informed the traveler that this route had been followed by more pilgrims. However, this changed at some point, and today the action of depositing a pebble in a certain place on the Camino has a self-help function. Christian Kurrat, a doctor in Sociology and an expert on the Camino de Santiago, explains that leaving behind the stones symbolizes leaving behind fears, sorrows and problems, which remain petrified on the path. "This ritual is also a way to create a historical and diachronic community of pilgrims, a way of making other pilgrims see others before, and in this way the new stones will leave the same message to future pilgrims", Kurrat adds.

Whether to free oneself from the pain, with the wish that the pilgrim feeling transcend the borders of time and space, or simply by imitation, hundreds of testimonies of those who go to Compostela continue to accumulate day after day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
----
#2
"This ritual is also a way to create a historical and diachronic community of pilgrims, a way of making other pilgrims see others before, and in this way the new stones will leave the same message to future pilgrims", Kurrat adds.
Am I the only one who giggled when reading this ;)? The article describes the last 15 km immediately before Santiago. Is there really a need for pebbles at that point to make you aware that there are pilgrims before you and behind you and, actually, right next to you? And that it's been like this yesterday and last week and it's likely the same tomorrow and next week? :cool:
 
Last edited:

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#3
Looks like the tradition of leaving stones on the markers is another "ancient " tradition dating back to the 1990s. Same as the idiots who used thrir skiing poles to deface the scallop shell tiles on the the markers
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#5
These "traditions" (burning clothes, leaving junk at the Cruz de Fero, graffite, etc) are almost all things that have been promoted in mostly recent years. They are passed from one newer excited person to another as facts and often told as if they are "old" traditions.

Please do not pass on this sad information and try to discredit it when possible.
 
#6
Am I the only one who giggled when reading this ;)? The article describes the last 15 km immediately before Santiago. Is there really a need for pebbles at that point to make you aware that there are pilgrims before you and behind you and, actually, right next to you? And that it's been like this yesterday and last week and it's likely the same tomorrow and next week? :cool:
Isn’t the whole thing tongue-in-cheek? ;)
A gentle reproof?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#7
The most pilgrim rituals of the Camino
All kinds of "memories" dot the last fifteen kilometers of the French route
PACO RODRÍGUEZ


DAVID COSTOYA SL SANTIAGO / LA VOZ
08/26/2018 05:00 H

The last fifteen kilometers of the French Way are reflected in the faces of the pilgrims with a mixture of joy and exhaustion, because they know that their destination, Compostela, is already around the corner, or almost. The final sprint starts around the Lavacolla airport and, leaving it behind, a series of paths begins among the vegetation, alternating with stretches through the small population centers until reaching Monte do Gozo. The cairns with the yellow scallop will escort the passage of the pedestrians, although they will not be the only companions on the route. On all sides you can see the marks that other pilgrims went through there before: pebbles, religious prints, stickers and even clothes.

Before arriving at the village of San Paio, the strategic placement of a sneaker on a "Do not pass" sign is surprising. Beside this, multiple stickers dot a street lamp, and a heart-shaped painting looks like a stone-topped landmark.
Abandoning the small town is San Paio, the walkers go back into the vegetation. This section runs between trees, dirt trails, and the passage through a tunnel to cross the highway. Further on, the route shows houses and farms, and ultimately leads to Lavacolla. The walkers make a stop on the way to drink water at the fountain of the church of San Paio de Sabugueira. There you can also see the passage of other pilgrims, for example with messages such as "You will always walk by my side Patrick, Carlos", an anonymous inscription that since July of this year looks on a sign of the route.

When crossing the national road in the direction of Vilamaior, the pilgrims pass by the Lavacolla stream, where since medieval times, its banks were a point to be thoroughly cleaned before entering the city. Today there is a walkway, where many stop to regain strength. In Vilamaior, the smell of rough work welcomes pilgrims, but so does a bicycle saddle and an apple, which are stacked in perfect balance on top of a landmark.
As you pass the neighboring village of Neiro, a large fence with hundreds of crosses made with branches and eucalyptus leaves is striking. The allusion to religion is clear, although possibly many pilgrims left there their mark by inertia and imitation.

The route continues towards Monte do Gozo, where there is more affluence of walkers. Already in this natural balcony to the city, the arrival of pilgrims is attested by the hundreds of memories that "decorate" the monument of the place. From photographs, shoes and hats, all kinds of effects hang from the reliefs as if it were an offering. There are also missing the recurring stones. On the other hand, a few meters from the place, crosses are erected with branches, from which generally pieces of clothing also hang.
However, the "big altar" pilgrim is the signpost indicating the entrance to Santiago. The ritual sends out the photo of rigor, but in this sign you can barely distinguish the letters due to all the stickers, shoes, flags and all kinds of physical witnesses of the arrival of the walkers who are cramming it.

Leave stones to abandon the sorrows and create community


The passage of the walkers is commonly marked by simple pebbles. These form small agglomerations, which are usually located in the cairns of the Jacobean Route. Nobody knows who started them, but almost all the signs that shine the arrow and yellow scallops are topped by these mounds.
Originally, when there was no formal signage, it is believed that the small piles of stones informed the traveler that this route had been followed by more pilgrims. However, this changed at some point, and today the action of depositing a pebble in a certain place on the Camino has a self-help function. Christian Kurrat, a doctor in Sociology and an expert on the Camino de Santiago, explains that leaving behind the stones symbolizes leaving behind fears, sorrows and problems, which remain petrified on the path. "This ritual is also a way to create a historical and diachronic community of pilgrims, a way of making other pilgrims see others before, and in this way the new stones will leave the same message to future pilgrims", Kurrat adds.

Whether to free oneself from the pain, with the wish that the pilgrim feeling transcend the borders of time and space, or simply by imitation, hundreds of testimonies of those who go to Compostela continue to accumulate day after day.
Peter, thanks again for sharing your curious and interesting reports with us all. What will you leave there soon, in Santiago? Fill in the vowels...grttd?
 

Lynda t

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago May 2010
Lisbon to Santiago May 2012
#8
I walked from St. Jean and didn’t need to leave anything along the way. I brought my memories home with me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Future (2018)
#10
That's very good Peter. Reminds me of the Monty Python short travelogue film called "Away from it All" (it's on Youtube). Which presents as a sincere travel documentary about Europe narrated by John Cleese. Until that is, the wheels come off.
 

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