Spain in-depth: Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago: Types of Pilgrims

Camino de Santiago: Types of Pilgrims
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Camino de Santiago: Types of Pilgrims

There are two different types of pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago; Christian pilgrims who are walking the path as a spiritual journey, and those who simply want to live the Saint James tour experience. In either case, there are clear differences in the motiviations of pilgrims and we can actually speak of a segmentation. We share it with you in this article so you can identify which is your style.

This has nothing to do with the pilgrim certificate or “Compostela”. We refer here to different ways to understand El Camino

The pilgrim definition is very simple: « it is he who goes towards or returns from the home of Santiago ». The end of this journey is none other than a spiritual one. The tradition of the Camino de Santiago started in the middle Ages (s.IX-XIII).

In every pilgrimage, it is important to know that there are different elements that constitute that journey. The main three are: Motivation, the journey and the arrival.

Getting ready for the Camino de Santiagoi

A part from the two types of pilgrims that were mentioned above, there are different types of pilgrims that take on this journey with different states of mind:

–   The pilgrims: These people are the true pilgrims, the original ones. They started the pilgrimage from their home, wherever that may be in Europe. These pilgrims take on this journey is the traditional way.

–   The heroic ones: These are the pilgrims that take on a Catholic tour. They pilgrim to Rome, Santiago de Compostela, Fatima, Lourdes, Jerusalem…This pilgrimage to all these Christian sacred sites lasts for several years.

–   The eternal ones: They live on the Camino going from hostel to hostel, coming and going. They try to find meaning in their life on the Camino, and start the Camino again when possible.

–   The veterans: They’ve done the Saint James tour numerous times (or a few times). They usually belong to associations of the Camino de Santiago to help make the lives of the pilgrims easier whilst on the tour. For example, volunteering as hospital aids.

–   “Peregrinos de pata negra”: These are the pilgrims who have done the whole Camino de Santiago by foot, starting in Spain.

–   Vacational pilgrims: They prefer to do the Camino de Santiago in various stages during one or more years. They stay in hotels and have help to transport their bags. They do acknowledge the beauty of the Camino de Santiago but they renounce the essence of it all.