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Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage "Red Shell" Patch Cap - (One Size Fits Most) - The Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Patch bears the Yellow Scalloped Shell with the Blood Red Cross of the Order of Santiago. This Ancient Symbol is often found marking the Pilgrimage Trail Route. The Scallop Shell depicted on our patches are often found washes up by the ocean’s wave on the Atlantic shores in Galicia, Spain and has long been the symbol of God’s hand guiding the pilgrims to Camino de Santiago Compostela. Over the centuries the Scallop Shell has taken on mythical, metaphorical and practical meanings and acts as a metaphor for the pilgrimage. The grooves in the shell come together at a single point representing the various routes pilgrims traveled eventually arriving at a single destination, “The Tomb of Saint James”, located within the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. Our patch has been left clean without any advertising or wording to preserved the spiritual essence of traveling The Way of Saint James. Many of our customers who walk “The Way” also purchase our beautiful 3 x 5 inch American Flag Patches and a dozen or more Camino Pilgrimage Patches for their pilgrimage to share with those they become friends with along “The Way” during their pilgrimage experience. I have been told our patches are very popular in Europe with those walking the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage and have become collector items. For those who are interested in the spiritual essence and beauty of walking "The Way" we would like to suggest the movie, "The Way" Staring Martin Sheen and produced by Emilio Estevez honoring the pilgrimage.
History of the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage - Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage or The Way of St. James or St. James’ Way as it is often known by its Spanish name the Camino de Santiago is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north western Spain where the Apostle Saint James the Great is said to be laid to rest. The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the ultimate goal of the pilgrimage. The Way of Saint James has been one of the most important Christian Pilgrimages since Medieval times and it has existed for over 1,000 years. It is considered as one of three pilgrimages on which all sins could be forgiven, the others being the Via Francigena to Rome and the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. However there is not a single route, there are many numbers of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. A few of the routes are considered to be the primary ones. Santiago de Compostela is such an important pilgrimage destination as it is considered the burial site of the Apostle James the Great (Saint James). Legend states that Saint James’ remains were transported by boat from Jerusalem to the Pyrenees Mountains of Northern Spain where they were buried on the site of what is now the Cathedral of Santiago in city of Santiago de Compostela. In the middle Ages the route was highly traveled. Reformation and unrest in 16th Century Europe resulted in its decline. In the early 1980’s only a few pilgrims per year arrived in Santiago de Compostela. Since the late 1980’s “The Way” has attracted a growing number of modern day pilgrims from all around the world. The route was declared the First European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987 and inscribed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1993. The earliest records of visits paid to the shrine dedicated to Saint James at Santiago de Compostela date from the 8th Century in the times of the Kingdom of Asturias. This was the most renowned medieval pilgrimage and the custom of those who carried back with them from Galicia a Scallop Shells as proof of their journey gradually extended to other forms of pilgrimage. From across France and Spain the pilgrimage route led from shrine to shrine just as a Caravan route leads from Oasis to Oasis. The pilgrimage as penance; Once a system of penance had been established by the Church, part of the rituals of confession and absolution, pilgrimages were established as adequate punishments assessed for certain crimes. The Catholic Encyclopedia noted: “In the registers of the Inquisition at Carcasson” we found the four following places noted as being the centre of the greater pilgrimages to be imposed as penances for the graver crimes, the tomb of the Apostles in Rome, the Shrine of St. James at Santiago de Compostela, Spain and St. Thomas’s body at Canterbury, England and the relics of the Three Kings at Cologne, Germany.” Pre-Christian History of the route prior to its existence as a Catholic Pilgrimage, the route is believed to also have had significance for the Ancient Pagan peoples of the Iberian Peninsula, among them the Celts and later the Romans who conquered Spain. The site of Santiago de Compostela itself may have been perhaps a Roman Shrine. To this day many of the pilgrims continue on from Santiago de Compostela to the Atlantic coast of Galicia to finish their pilgrimage at Spain’s western most point Cape Finisterre (Galician, Fisterra). Though many pilgrims today erroneously believe Cape Finisterre is also the western most point of mainland Europe, the fact that the Romans called it Finisterrae (literally the end of the world in Latin) indicates that they viewed it as a place of significance. Pagan influences can still be seen along “The Way” indeed some of the modern-day pilgrims themselves are attracted more to the pagan legends associated with “The Way” rather than the Christian. The modern-day pilgrimage; Today thousands of Christian pilgrims and non-Christian pilgrims each year set out from their homes or from popular starting points across Europe. The most popular route is the French Way or “Camino Frances” on which most pilgrims start from either Saint Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains or from Roncesvalles on the Spanish side. However many pilgrims begin further a field from cities such as Le Puy or St. Albain. These modern-day pilgrims walk for weeks or months to visit the city of Santiago de Compostela. Some pilgrims travel by bicycle. In addition to people on a religious pilgrimage there are many travelers and hikers who walk the route for non-religious reasons such as for enjoyment, travel, sport or simply the challenge of walking “The Way” in a beautiful foreign land.

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