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Tradition…. When to start wearing your scallop shell?

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For first timers, do you start wearing your scallop shell when you start the camino, or only after you have finished?
When you start. It identifies you as a pilgrim. In Medieval times the shell was given upon arrival in Santiago de Compostela, but now pilgrims receive the Compostela certificate instead.
 
For first timers, do you start wearing your scallop shell when you start the camino, or only after you have finished?
I think in the olden times people wore them at the end. Now a scallop shell on your pack is a sign you are a pilgrim. Have seen them on new pilgrims starting out. FYI, my first one broke from banging around on stuff so careful how you attach it.
 
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I did not carry a scallop shell on my first pilgrimage. I was aware of the older tradition that it was the badge of a pilgrim who had completed their pilgrimage to Santiago. I felt it was inappropriate and presumptuous for me to display one until I had visited the tomb of the Apostle. I have occasionally carried one on later journeys but I don't usually do so.
 
I think in the olden times people wore them at the end. Now a scallop shell on your pack is a sign you are a pilgrim. Have seen them on new pilgrims starting out. FYI, my first one broke from banging around on stuff so careful how you attach it.
Actually I have been given a shell by locals. I have never paid for one for myself. They are not expensive though.
 
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If you are starting in SJPdP shells are available at the Pilgrim's Office.
I don't think we got one there. Sometime later someone gave me one as a gift. Mine broke, but I was given yet another. (Guess they wanted people to know I was a pilgrim.) Some people get them at a shell ceremony if they are American Pilgrims Chapter members.
 
I don't think we got one there
They keep Camino shells in a basket at the Pilgrims Office in SJPP. You chose one and give them a donation - I think it is €2. At least that’s what is was like many many years ago.

I’ve never worn a scallop shell because I feel that one look at my own and my companions‘ outfit - backpack, lightweight trekking trousers, breathable fabric for T-shirt - and where I walk and in which direction sufficiently marks me as a Camino pilgrim 😆.

But yes, carrying the shell from the start to Santiago is a well-established modern tradition.
 
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I know you do ‘tell it like it is’ but really - that happens?
I was very surprised to learn about shell ceremonies a few years ago but apparently they are a big thing on the far side of the pond. An example here!
 
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Do as you want. Current pilgrimage has changed so much that it is difficult and discutible to talk about a "tradition" to follow.
As for myself, I did not carry a shell in my first walk (the Frances), but I have used it in later pilgrimages, in less common paths (as in the Piedmont), where I felt identifying myself as a pilgrim made sense. And actually, it worked; some locals noticed that I was not the usual backpacker and approached me to ask questions and a bit of talk.
 
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I didn't get mine until Pradela but would have happily worn it before then. Will have to steal it back from my niece if I do another Camino.
 
For many years I carried the increasingly battered and chipped scallop shell I got at SJPP on my first Camino. On the CP last year, I decided it had become too battered to risk losing any more of it, and didn't take it with me, nor any of the other shells I seem to have acquired over the years.

Shortly before SDC, there was a roadside vendor making and selling leather trinkets, including a leather 'scallop shell'. This appealed to me as something that would withstand the harsh conditions of travelling on the back of my pack, so that is now what I have for any future caminos should I want to display a shell.
 
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For first timers, do you start wearing your scallop shell when you start the camino, or only after you have finished?
Modern pilgrims tend to wear their shells when they start, or as soon as they acquire them to identify themselves as pilgrims. There are some who believe that medieval pilgrims wore them after they finished, having received them in Galicia as they completed their Caminos.
 
I know you do ‘tell it like it is’ but really - that happens?
It also happens in Canada. I was at the semi-annual general meeting of the Toronto Camino Community today and at each of these they have a ceremony where they give shells to those who intend to walk in the next six months. I got one that I will wear on my summer Camino.
 
I did not carry a scallop shell on my first pilgrimage. I was aware of the older tradition that it was the badge of a pilgrim who had completed their pilgrimage to Santiago. I felt it was inappropriate and presumptuous for me to display one until I had visited the tomb of the Apostle. I have occasionally carried one on later journeys but I don't usually do so.
Whereas I was given one in Roncesvalles on my first Camino at the same time as I was given my credencial and told to wear it. So I did, not super aware of the older tradition and ready to take their word on what to do.
 
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I attached mine to my pack when I got it in SJPdP. I took it off 4 days later because I didn't like the sound it made as it bounced and scraped as I walked lol.

Wear it on your pack, leave it in a pocket as a souvenir, don't get one at all. It's all good.
 
For first timers, do you start wearing your scallop shell when you start the camino, or only after you have finished?
Hi all, I believe that the scallop shell has a few theories, like the "fingers" all end at the same point, symbolising the various camino routes all ending at SDC, or that the ancient pilgrims used it as a eating & drinking implement. It would be interesting to see the history & myths surrounding the shell.......either way, let the discussion begin.
Personally I have carried mine from the start....
 
I don't think we got one there. Sometime later someone gave me one as a gift. Mine broke, but I was given yet another. (Guess they wanted people to know I was a pilgrim.) Some people get them at a shell ceremony if they are American Pilgrims Chapter members.
I received mine at a shell ceremony yesterday 😀
 
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Hi all, I believe that the scallop shell has a few theories, like the "fingers" all end at the same point, symbolising the various camino routes all ending at SDC, or that the ancient pilgrims used it as a eating & drinking implement. It would be interesting to see the history & myths surrounding the shell.......either way, let the discussion begin.
Personally I have carried mine from the start....
I have often read the suggestion that pilgrims used a scallop shell as a food bowl or drinking vessel on their journey. Occasionally with the added notion that the size of the shell was the food ration allowed per pilgrim by donors. But no one has ever been able to point me to any original source material to confirm this. Given the limited capacity of a scallop shell and its inconvenience for the purpose it strikes me as very unlikely. There is also a great deal of evidence of church regulations regarding the sale of scallop shells to pilgrims in Santiago. If pilgrims were already carrying their shells and using them as utensils along the Camino why would there be such a regulated market for them in the city?
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I did not carry a scallop shell on my first pilgrimage. I was aware of the older tradition that it was the badge of a pilgrim who had completed their pilgrimage to Santiago. I felt it was inappropriate and presumptuous for me to display one until I had visited the tomb of the Apostle. I have occasionally carried one on later journeys but I don't usually do so.
I like this approach. I too, am not sure I want to display a shell until I feel I have earned it. I am making my first pilgrimage this year; I will leave the Frances at Leon and walk the San Salvador. I think that when I reach Oviedo, and earn my Salvadorana, I will attach my shell and wear it as I walk the Primitivo to Santiago. I am bringing my own scallop shell from the US; a smallish one I collected years ago that holds some memories.
 
I've always worn a pilgrim shell on my hat, with another on my horse Leo's browband. My sister Susie did the same when we rode together from Canterbury to Santiago (the middle photo shows Leo and me talking to tourists at Vézelay), and when I rode alone to Rome some years later. Leo sneezed all over the police officer in the photo outside St Peter's, but he (the officer!) managed to continue smiling ... The shell opened a lot of doors (including stable doors) not to mention garden gates courtesy of helpful people who were very pleased to have their lawns mown overnight.
 

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Just a tip for those starting from Saint Jean Pied de Port. The local restaurants serving the essential French dish "Coquille St. Jacques" (James) usually supply all the scallop shells needed at the local Pilgrim Office on Rue de Citadelle. The staff bore holes and thread a simple cord, tying a knot.

I have observed that their supply peaks on Monday and dwindles towards Thursday / Friday until the dinner trade picks up for the weekend. Just an arcane point I suppose.

Most all of the scallop shells with a red cord and a stenciled Cruz de Santiago on them are commercially sourced. They are all bleached to result in the white finish. They could come from anywhere in the world as the shell species and genus is widely found around the globe. The local shells from the restaurants in SJPdP are naturally colored on both sides. So, they can be more interesting to choose and own. The commercial varieties are intended to all look the same, at least on the outside.

In my PERSONAL opinion, the locally sourced shells in SJPdP would be closer to the traditional original scallop shell. In the end, they are all scallop shells. But, as I am not a conchologist (seriously - that is what shell experts are called), I suppose it does not matter.

Any scallop shell hung about your person or on your rucksack identifies you as a pilgrim. When I start at SJPdP I obtain a plain one there. When working at the Pilgrim Office or starting somewhere, where local scallop shells are not easily available, I go with the commercial variety. It's all the same.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
Yes, it happens.
Every day’s a school day.

It sounds splendid, but perhaps is another example of the cultural divide between the UK and other anglophone cultures.

In general; we’re not very ‘clubable’ and faintly embarrassed to admit we belong to anything. (With the exception of oxbridge graduates, vegans* and wild-swimmers who will declare themselves to a bus-queue if there’s no one else within earshot)

* no offence intended. It is, however, true where I come from.
 
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The ANFAS albergue in Estella sells decorated shells to help support their mission of working with disabled persons. We also sold them at the San Miguel albergue in the same town by collaborative agreement. If you haven't purchased one by Estella, you might consider getting one as a way to help support this cause.
 
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I like this approach. I too, am not sure I want to display a shell until I feel I have earned it.
That was my thinking. I would no more have worn a shell on that first walk than I would have worn someone else's medals in the days when I wore military uniform. But clearly most people today see a very different meaning in the symbol and wear one in all good faith. Or do not wear one at all. A personal choice and significance.
 
Mine was found at the beach at the harbour before Finisterre, as I believed that I had to earn it, before wearing the scallop, I mean. It is a small one, as small is beautiful, and so are my tattoo scallops...

I chose the flat under part of the scallop so as to preserve it for longer time, it being thicker, or so I thought....
Third camino in, my scallop cracked in two as my rucksack fell on a marble floor. Now twice glued together with Superglue and a thick leather patch on the back side, the two of us will stay together forever, never leaving the rucksack.....
My Traveling Luck !!


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Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

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Just a tip for those starting from Saint Jean Pied de Port. The local restaurants serving the essential French dish "Coquille St. Jacques" (James) usually supply all the scallop shells needed at the local Pilgrim Office on Rue de Citadelle. The staff bore holes and thread a simple cord, tying a knot.

I have observed that their supply peaks on Monday and dwindles towards Thursday / Friday until the dinner trade picks up for the weekend. Just an arcane point I suppose.

Yes, an arcane point indeed, what with scallops being seasonal and everything..

..and from what I understand, fishing of la coquille Saint Jacques is severely reglemented and controlled in France and that the season is roughly from October to April. However, in the maritime area close to SJPP, it was restricted to 2-28 December 2022 this time round.

So, your observations of the ebbing and flowing of locally sourced scallop shells in SJPDP would have been made during a winter camino?
 
Do they give you one when you finish, or do you buy one somewhere in Santiago?
You can get them all up and down the Frances, from St Jean all the way to Santiago.
If you are going to Finisterre as well you can pick them up off of the beach. I have many I got from there.
 
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Yes, an arcane point indeed, what with scallops being seasonal and everything..
If we are dealing in arcane detail about scallops here's an entertaining piece of trivia from the Wikipedia article about them: "Curiously the Linnaean name Pecten jacobeus is given to the Mediterranean scallop, while the scallop endemic to Galicia is called Pecten maximus due to its bigger size."
 
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For first timers, do you start wearing your scallop shell when you start the camino, or only after you have finished?
Any time you want. There are no dos or donts. In medieval times pilgrims wore them upon completion and wore them home. Some then wore them for the rest of their lives. However back then they were only available at the end. Now, you wear it with pride anytime you want
 
I wanted to honor the tradition of finding a shell on the beach to mark the end of my Camino when I got to Fisterra so I didn't buy one before I set out on my walk last spring. Instead, I bought a small patch from Ivar's Camino shop and attached that to my backpack to identify myself as a pilgrim. (It's this one, which is currently out of stock.)

When I did get to Fisterra, though, I ended up buying a shell at one of the souvenir stalls near the lighthouse instead of looking for one on the beach. So I'm hardly a purist. :)
 
I wanted to honor the tradition of finding a shell on the beach to mark the end of my Camino when I got to Fisterra so I didn't buy one before I set out on my walk last spring. Instead, I bought a small patch from Ivar's Camino shop and attached that to my backpack to identify myself as a pilgrim. (It's this one, which is currently out of stock.)
I wonder what tradition this might have been? I don't recall there being a beach at Santiago, presumably the end of the journey for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. Would they have been more likely to have a meal of scallops in Santiago and retain a shell from that than walking out to the coast at Muxia or Finisterre? If not that way, I can imagine local traders having a ready supply of these collected in bulk from local eating establishments, cleaned up and then adorned with the St James cross or other religious motifs.
 
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I carry one on my pack. I bought it from Ivar prior to my first Camino.
I use the same one every time. I have the dates of my Caminos on the inside of the shell.
It's on the side of my pack (just above the bananas the pic)

I'm not certain, but I think the Pilgrim Teddy Bears are a more recent accoutrement. :rolleyes:
'Mr Bean' has also been on every Camino....


 
On my first Camino, I attached my shell to my pack before I left home.

My shell was an old flat scallop shell I picked up off the beach on a family trip when I was 4 years old (back in the 70s). I had kept it in an old box of shells from that time and went hunting through them the moment I knew I was going to walk the Camino.

I picked the one that spoke to me, carefully made a hole in it and attached it to my pack. For me my pilgrimage started before my trip to the airport and I have always felt my shell was sacred.

From that same collection of shells I have given one to my sister (with whom I shared my first Camino) and one to my husband (with whom I shared my second).

Put your shell on your pack any time you deem appropriate. It's your Camino.
 
For first timers, do you start wearing your scallop shell when you start the camino, or only after you have finished?

The Camino Scollop Shell (white shell in third pic) is from the Mediterranean Sea and is referred to as the “percten maximus”, or great scollop. My wife, learning of the Camino shell, prepared one (first pic) for my trip, a very grateful and appreciated show of support for my dream to do the Camino Francés. Living on the Atlantic Ocean, in Port Mouton, Canada, the Shell (second pic) a “pecten grandis”, or giant scollop from the shore of my home. I have placed a few on fence/sign posts along my Eastern training route, pointing to Santiago de Compostela to encourage me along my daily journey. I am going to sport my shell everyday on the Camino. I am hoping on my last day in Santiago de Compostela, I might get the honour to exchange mine with another member of my Camino family as a reward, keepsake and a reminder of what we endured and to celebrated an epic adventure. “Buen Camino!”

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19A62BD2-F806-49D1-AB65-A4785C1BAA6B.jpeg21D645E1-2A27-4936-A8B1-0943C7435CB3.jpeg
For first timers, do you start wearing your scallop shell when you start the camino, or only after you have finished?
 
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Unless you were to insist on the old way, of not wearing one until after having reached Santiago, the "purist" manner would be to let the shell come to you on the Way, and be led as much by circumstance and by others rather than by deliberate choice alone.
 
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I've always worn a pilgrim shell on my hat, with another on my horse Leo's browband. My sister Susie did the same when we rode together from Canterbury to Santiago (the middle photo shows Leo and me talking to tourists at Vézelay), and when I rode alone to Rome some years later. Leo sneezed all over the police officer in the photo outside St Peter's, but he (the officer!) managed to continue smiling ... The shell opened a lot of doors (including stable doors) not to mention garden gates courtesy of helpful people who were very pleased to have their lawns mown overnight.
Leo looks very soft in that first photo. He is beautiful.
 
Every day’s a school day.

It sounds splendid, but perhaps is another example of the cultural divide between the UK and other anglophone cultures.

In general; we’re not very ‘clubable’ and faintly embarrassed to admit we belong to anything. (With the exception of oxbridge graduates, vegans* and wild-swimmers who will declare themselves to a bus-queue if there’s no one else within earshot)

* no offence intended. It is, however, true where I come from.

LOL.

As a born and bred 'Pom' (Englishman) I can so relate to that, :)

However as a card carrying Australian of the last 30 years or so.
Clubs of every form are 'de rigueur' down under.
Not that I would admit to being a member of any of course......... ;)
 
I didn't "wear" a scallop shell until I finished my Camino. I felt I hadn't earned it until I came to the end. And ANYONE could just look at me - backpack, hiking poles, wet, worn, bedraggled, muddy boots - and instantly tell I was a pilgrim. If you think you are walking on the Camino and your shell is what identifies you as a pilgrim, you need to take a look around, IMHO.
For the record, I was gifted my first shell at a restaurant in Finisterre.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Yes, an arcane point indeed, what with scallops being seasonal and everything..

..and from what I understand, fishing of la coquille Saint Jacques is severely reglemented and controlled in France and that the season is roughly from October to April. However, in the maritime area close to SJPP, it was restricted to 2-28 December 2022 this time round.

So, your observations of the ebbing and flowing of locally sourced scallop shells in SJPDP would have been made during a winter camino?
If local-sourced and harvested scallops are indeed 'seasonal,' how does Coquille St. Jacques remain on the menu year-round? Regardless of where they are sourced, those at SJPdP go from restaurant kitchen to the local Pilgrim Office. That is good enough for me.

Perhaps Forum member MonaSP can clarify? She is the manager of the SJPdP Pilgrim Office.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
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It also happens in Canada. I was at the semi-annual general meeting of the Toronto Camino Community today and at each of these they have a ceremony where they give shells to those who intend to walk in the next six months. I got one that I will wear on my summer Camino.
Wish I'd known! I leave for Camino #6 in three weeks. The Toronto Camino Community is likely the closest to my home in St. Catharines, and it would have been nice to connect with pilgrims and participate in the shell ceremony. (Or at least observe.)
 
For first timers, do you start wearing your scallop shell when you start the camino, or only after you have finished?
I picked up my shell in the pilgrim's office in SJPDP. It serves a usefull purpose. It's clatter when attached to a backpack and sight warns other to stay away or I will bore you with my insistent Camino blabbing.
 
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If local-sourced and harvested scallops are indeed 'seasonal,' how does Coquille St. Jacques remain on the menu year-round?
It's possible thanks to frozen imports from around the world of bivalves that can be commercialised, due to a WTO decision in the 1990s, as "Saint Jacques" in France even when they are not even the real Pecten maximus. From https://www.regal.fr/recettes/poissons-crustaces-et-fruits-de-mer/saint-jacques-ou-petoncles-17969 (translated):

Fresh coquilles Saint-Jacques are sold whole, alive, or as fresh scallops only from 1 October to 15 May.

Battle of the Names - All those Scallops that are called Saint Jacques: Since 1996, all kinds of wild or farmed scallops from all over the world can be commercially called "Saint Jacques" and "Noix de Saint Jacques". In France, the top species are the black scallop (Chlamys varia), mainly fished in Quiberon Bay and Brest Bay, and the white scallop (Chlamys opercularis), mainly caught in the Channel. But that is without including all the exotic species, such as the small Argopecten purpuratus from Peru and Chlamys nobilis from Vietnam or the Philippines, the tiny Zygochlamys patagonica from Argentina, the very large Placopecten magellanicus from Canada...

Oh how I wish that I had known this before I once ordered a pilgrim's menu that promised "Saint James scallops" as the first course. They were a very far cry from what I had expected ... from the look of them, they must have been the tiny Argentinian ones. ☺️
 
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Wish I'd known! I leave for Camino #6 in three weeks. The Toronto Camino Community is likely the closest to my home in St. Catharines, and it would have been nice to connect with pilgrims and participate in the shell ceremony. (Or at least observe.)
Fear not, there is a Camino event happening this weekend (March 11th) in Hamilton (even closer to St. Catharines, I believe), so all is not lost.

Doors open at 8:30; program starts at 9am.
First Unitarian Church, 170 Dundurn St. South, Hamilton

This will be a half day aimed at fellowship, talks and information to help you on your WAY.

They'll have a series of 10-minute 'Tapestry Talks', a CCoP booth, a hospitalero info booth, a session on a typical day on the Camino and plenty of time to meet friends and make new ones.

If you want more information, I can put you in touch with one of the organizers. I don't know if they will be having a shell ceremony but if not, they might be willing to provide one. :)
 
If local-sourced and harvested scallops are indeed 'seasonal,' how does Coquille St. Jacques remain on the menu year-round?
That's marketing for you, don't be taken in by everything you see advertised on a menu. In season sure, probably what it says.. but out of season and in summer?

And king scallops aren't frozen and exported in the shell either: the flesh is expensive, the shell practically worthless, Gasp!! (maybe used as calcium supplement for poultry though? I have used them ground up for that purpose)..
 
I wonder what tradition this might have been? I don't recall there being a beach at Santiago, presumably the end of the journey for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. Would they have been more likely to have a meal of scallops in Santiago and retain a shell from that than walking out to the coast at Muxia or Finisterre? If not that way, I can imagine local traders having a ready supply of these collected in bulk from local eating establishments, cleaned up and then adorned with the St James cross or other religious motifs.
I was referring to the tradition espoused by some that the scallop shell was originally something pilgrims acquired at the end of their journey, whether in Santiago or (in my case) Fisterra. But thanks for the helpful reminder that there’s no beach in Santiago. :rolleyes:
 
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My first camino I received a shell at the pilgrims' office in SJPdP and ended up walking to Fisterra. While there, I was enthralled at all the perfect shells strewn about the beach.

As is tradition, I took a cleansing swim in the bay and while sitting on the beach drying off, I watched a local elderly gentlemen walking up and down the beach, collecting shells. He walked up to me, handed me over a few shells to which I said gracias! Then looked me directly in the eye, held up the most perfectly beautiful scalloped shell, and said in broken English "and this...this is for the camino".

I kept that shell for my next camino (2019) and held onto it afterward, all the way to Bali, where it's now buried in the rich volcanic island soil.

I leave for my next camino in less than 48 hours, no shell yet. I guess maybe I'll find one, but I also like the idea of waiting until the end....

IMG_0196.jpeg
 
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Meanwhile … All this discussion reminded me of a place I came across last year between Triacastela and Sarria, on the San Xil route. A group of volunteers had set up an extensive rest area with food, coffee, and various art installations – including a display in which pilgrims were invited to add the shells they had been walking with along with anything else they needed to leave behind along the way. (Sort of like leaving a stone at the Cruz de Ferro, I suppose, but with shells.) From what I could gather, it had to do with the belief that the scallop shell was something pilgrims were supposed to obtain after they finish walking, not before. (I take no sides in that debate.) More details in the sign in the photo below, along with a photo of the “installation.” Did anyone else stop here?

6B31D169-4EB2-4C4D-AFBD-C8CBA51174CE.jpegB744DE0C-9239-4A34-BE66-5C4F7F2B202A.jpeg
 
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I met an American woman on the bus from Bayonne to SJPDP and we went to the camino office together. She bought a scallop shell and bought me one and we bought put them on our pack. I think it just lets everyone know that you are a pilgrim. I didn't realise the original idea was that you put it on at the end. Anyway, I am soon going to walk part of the VF and then Porto onwards and will need to decide whether to take along my original shell. I probably will.
 
how I wish that I had known this before I once ordered a pilgrim's menu that promised "Saint James scallops" as the first course. They were a very far cry from what I had expected ... from the look of them, they must have been the tiny Argentinian ones. ☺️
The pilgrim's meal with "Saint James scallops" that I had was in a pilgrim albergue-restaurant in Fromista on the Camino Frances in Spain. It was very similar to this product shown in the photo below which is sold in France and where the final place of 'production' is in the Bretagne (!).

When you have good enough eyesight and look at the tiny footnote (1) next to St-Jacques you learn that these are not Pecten maximus, ie not the true Saint James scallops caught in the waters off the Galician or French coast. The footnote tells you the names of all kinds of scallops that are marketed as Saint James scallops. So don't worry about where you get your shells from for hanging them on your backpacks, they will be 'authentic' enough and truly global as they should be ... 🙂.

The footnote says: (1) Chlamys nobilis, origin of Indonesia/South Korea/Thailand/USA/Vietnam; Argopecten irradians, origin of Indonesia/South Korea/Thailand/USA/Vietnam; Chlamys albida, origin of Russia/Canada; Argopecten purpuratus, origin of Peru; Chlamys islandica, origin of Island/Russia; Brachtechlamys vexillum, origin of Indonesia/South Korea/Thailand/USA/Vietnam; Amusium pleuronectes, origin of Indonesia/South Korea/Thailand/USA/Vietnam; Argopecten circularis, origin of Mexico/USA.

Buen Camino et buen provecho! :)

Saint James scallops.jpg
 
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...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
I've brought mine back from SdC, like in the old days.
Yip, I know that since the middle ages there would be some "cheaters", that didn't made it to SdC and brought back a shell ;) .
 
Fear not, there is a Camino event happening this weekend (March 11th) in Hamilton (even closer to St. Catharines, I believe), so all is not lost.

Doors open at 8:30; program starts at 9am.
First Unitarian Church, 170 Dundurn St. South, Hamilton

This will be a half day aimed at fellowship, talks and information to help you on your WAY.

They'll have a series of 10-minute 'Tapestry Talks', a CCoP booth, a hospitalero info booth, a session on a typical day on the Camino and plenty of time to meet friends and make new ones.

If you want more information, I can put you in touch with one of the organizers. I don't know if they will be having a shell ceremony but if not, they might be willing to provide one. :)
Very interested, and Hamilton is much closer. Less time in QEW traffic, too. Thank you for this.
 
I've brought mine back from SdC, like in the old days.
Yip, I know that since the middle ages there would be some "cheaters", that didn't made it to SdC and brought back a shell ;) .
I got mine from Pablo Payo, El Mesonero Mayor del Camino de Santiago, at Villalcázar de Sirga, on my Way to Santiago in 1994.

But then, I had already walked to Santiago in 1993, so that it was no "cheat" to wear it.

And to have received it in that manner still feels like a privilege, and an honour, that I am grateful for, in humility.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I wear mine around my neck. It's a small iron one I bought at the blacksmith who has a place near the wine fountain at Irache.
Yes, I've seen that blacksmith on a few vlogs. That's the one for me.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
If you are starting in SJPdP shells are available at the Pilgrim's Office.
So they are at the Albergues Jesus y Maria and Casa Paderbornin Pamplona and in many other alternative starting points.
 
You can buy them almost anywhere along the way. That right place, well, that will be up to u.
You can also buy them in supermarkets. Eat th scallops and keep the shells. I have about a dozen of them at home. I also got a couple in a restaurant that served scallops in the shell. Unfortunately, my attempts to draw a cross on them was not highly successful. My best attempt was with an indelible marker which wore off by the time I got halfway to Santiago. I think I may have been breaching copyright though as I read somewhere that the Cathedral authorities have exclusive rights on all shells with crosses sold
 
I did not carry a scallop shell on my first pilgrimage. I was aware of the older tradition that it was the badge of a pilgrim who had completed their pilgrimage to Santiago. I felt it was inappropriate and presumptuous for me to display one until I had visited the tomb of the Apostle. I have occasionally carried one on later journeys but I don't usually do so.
That was what I did as well. Now I wear it all the time and it has started many conversations.
 
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You can also buy them in supermarkets. Eat th scallops and keep the shells. I have about a dozen of them at home. I also got a couple in a restaurant that served scallops in the shell. Unfortunately, my attempts to draw a cross on them was not highly successful. My best attempt was with an indelible marker which wore off by the time I got halfway to Santiago. I think I may have been breaching copyright though as I read somewhere that the Cathedral authorities have exclusive rights on all shells with crosses sold
I'am a chef in a restaurant and we would buy them by the case. I brought 5 scallop shells home from work that was thinking of bringing one for my camino in May, but decided no. I laughed about the cross but I decided not to even try.
 
Because of family trauma many years ago, I cannot bring myself to wear or otherwise sport a scallop shell. 76 years next week my parents went out to dinner, I guess because they were expecting their second child to be born a few days later. My mother ordered scallops, enjoyed them but became violently ill when she got home. They went to the hospital emergency room, and I was born a very short time later. To the end of her days my mother would never eat scallops again, explaining, "Look what happened last time," pointing to me.
 
Because of family trauma many years ago, I cannot bring myself to wear or otherwise sport a scallop shell. 76 years next week my parents went out to dinner, I guess because they were expecting their second child to be born a few days later. My mother ordered scallops, enjoyed them but became violently ill when she got home. They went to the hospital emergency room, and I was born a very short time later. To the end of her days my mother would never eat scallops again, explaining, "Look what happened last time," pointing to me.
Now that is odd but funny.
 
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Leaving on my 1st Camino in 2015, only had a small scallop shell that was found in a thrift shop, tied to my pack with a ribbon. It was so pleasing and exciting to hear that first Buen Camino in the Madrid airport from someone. It really made me happy.
Already had a pilgrim pass from Ivar, that I got stamped at one of the churches here in Frankfurt that is on the Camino route. I continue to do this for every Camino as it feels right, since we start our Camino from our front door.
This same church (St.Leonhards) underwent extensive archeology the past 15 years and on the original level, they found an altar dating from the early 1200's with piles of scallop shells next to it. The church was built in 1219 and has a Jakobs Portal done in 1219 too, for the pilgrims gathering in Frankfurt before continuing on in groups towards the Rhein.
 
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This same church (St.Leonhards) underwent extensive archeology the past 15 years and on the original level, they found an altar dating from the early 1200's with piles of scallop shells next to it.
Ha! This caught my interest 😊. You had barely written the post when I had already found a nice book about the St. Leonhard church in Frankfurt and about the shells that had been unearthed in excavations. According to the description, they are not the Saint James scallops with their characteristic appearance (Pecten maximus from the Atlantic and Pecten jacobeus from the Mediterranean), but cockles (Cadiida). Cockle shells are also known as pilgrim shells from archaeological finds.

So whatever we pick for our shells, we are in good (late medieval and 16th-17th century) company because by that time shells had become a widely known symbol to identify a pilgrim - any pilgrim and not only pilgrims to Santiago. The fourth item in the photo is apparently a clay spindle whorl which was also found during excavations.
Muscheln St Leonhard.jpg
 
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Yep, i have that book because I do tours in this church, plus we walk by it on our Daily tours in Frankfurt. One other Camino church would be the Justinus church in Frankfurt Höchst. It is another traditional stop on the Main.
 
Yep, i have that book because I do tours in this church, plus we walk by it on our Daily tours in Frankfurt. One other Camino church would be the Justinus church in Frankfurt Höchst. It is another traditional stop on the Main.
I must try to visit at least St Leonhard's if and when I pass through Frankfurt. Just seeing the photo of this church with the whitewashed walls and the red Main sandstone makes me already nostalgic ...
 
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Leo looks very soft in that first photo. He is beautiful.
He was very beautiful. Sadly he died in the summer of 2021 (aged 28, so a good age, but it was no consolation!) and I still miss him every day. He'd been a successful show horse before I bought him as a six year old, and I don't think he had our initial 1700 mile trek to Santiago in mind at all, but he became completely hooked on long distance travel - as did I, needless to say. Pilgrimages in particular.
After Rome, I started travelling with my son Oliver who rode my second horse Trevi, an Austrian Noriker (descended from the Greek war horses - allegedly) and my latest book - still in the planning and very delayed in the writing! - is about our pilgrimages together. In 2012 we completed the Cami de Sant Jaume across Catalunya, east to west, which was the most exciting one I suppose (as full of mishaps as it was full of glorious adventures!). Here's a photo of Oliver and me taken the year before we started journeying. We hope to start again this year, with the two dapple grey gypsy cobs I own now, both very much with minds of their own, so anything may happen!
 

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I ordered mine from the forum store when I ordered my credential. Before the Camino - it hung on my wall and was a reminder of things to come. First Camino - I put it on my pack before departure to Spain and it remained there. Second Camino - I had a new pack and did not attach a shell to it. Why? Because on my first Camino it kept bouncing on the back of my backpack as I walked and it annoyed the heck out of me - so I kept tucking it into the outer pocket of my backpack haha. But I did leave it attached to that first backpack until about a month or so ago and I only removed it because I wanted to wash the backpack. I had to cut it off though - so I need to get a new red string for it so I can hang it back onto my wall to remind me of my 2 Camino adventures :)

I doubt I will ever carry a Camino shell again. That said - my daughter found a great shell necklace and bought it on her first Camino - if I ever find a nice one I like I will probably wear a necklace in the future. I wish I could just steal hers haha... I am jealous because I didn't find one I loved the way I love hers. (no - I promise I will not steal hers haha)
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
When you start. It identifies you as a pilgrim. In Medieval times the shell was given upon arrival in Santiago de Compostela, but now pilgrims receive the Compostela certificate instead.
I don't think it is instead. It is in addition to. I think in the Medieval times they had it right. You had to earn it so you got your shell when you arrived in Santiago de Compostela. Just my opinion
 
I did not carry a scallop shell on my first pilgrimage. I was aware of the older tradition that it was the badge of a pilgrim who had completed their pilgrimage to Santiago. I felt it was inappropriate and presumptuous for me to display one until I had visited the tomb of the Apostle. I have occasionally carried one on later journeys but I don't usually do so.
I agree completely and did not get mine until I arrived in Santiago.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
I got one after my first Camino - and it has stayed on my pannier ever since - on many pilgrimages - of christian and pagan 'flavours' - and on any journey I make. It is hanging on my bike now - ready to go cycling around Portugal (some sections of Camino! yay) I have also delivered 2 ten years apart to Roslin Chapel, another to Santiago in memory of Denise Thiem and I have given many away to other pilgrims.....
I see it as a badge that reminds us we are pilgrims - and that we should travel well - with hope, humility, kindness and a packful of sense of humour....!!
 
I was thinking that, according to the principle that we wear our shells to show that we have been to Santiago rather than that we are on our way there, the time to wear them is not on our pilgrimage but around our hometown afterwards. How many do that with their scallop shells (I'm not talking the patches; I'm talking the shells themselves)?

As mentioned above, I recently was gifted a shell in a shell ceremony, as someone who is going to walk in the next six months or so. I immediately attached it to my Camino backpack (which I had with me because I was helping out with pack demos at the meeting). So now I have it on my pack during my practice walks. Which feels weird enough. I can't imagine having it on my pack when not on a Camino-related walk.
 
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I never knew the shell was supposed to be the symbol of a completed Camino to Finesterre when I attached it enthusiastically to my new backpack as I prepared for my first Camino in 2015. It is a smallish shell from my own travels I attached to the side of my pack; not dead center so it is not huge and does not draw much attention (post #29). On other hikes in North America I never use my 36L camino pack, but if I did I still would not bother to remove my small shell.
 
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it also acts as a non-verbal identifier - I have had people of many different countries - hail me as a pilgrim!!
 
I've never worn a shell - but now I have cloth badges from Camigas, this website and the Norwegian pilgrim symbol on my backpack.
 
Before walking a Camino, I get a scallop shell of a beach here in New Zealand and fix it to my pack. When I get to Finesterre I throw it into the sea. This is nothing to do with tradition or whatever. For me it just marks the start and finish of my Camino. After throwing my shell into the sea I pick up a small stone to bring back home which I put with other stones I have collected from around the world as momentos.
 
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Before walking a Camino, I get a scallop shell of a beach here in New Zealand and fix it to my pack. When I get to Finesterre I throw it into the sea. This is nothing to do with tradition or whatever. For me it just marks the start and finish of my Camino. After throwing my shell into the sea I pick up a small stone to bring back home which I put with other stones I have collected from around the world as momentos.
Sounds like a very nice tradition for you. 😊
 
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