The Parkinson Association Valencia, joining forces with other associations, want to make, for its 20th anniversary, the Camino de Santiago with a group of 15 affected by Parkinson's disease in June 2014.
The shell, as an emblem of pilgrimage, "signum peregrinorum", has been in use since at least the twelfth century, but despite other pagan and Christian uses throughout the centuries, it began to develop enormously in the medieval period as a heraldic element, a symbol of Santiago : of its cathedral, its city, its pilgrims ... The scallop shell became synonymous with Santiago and was used on the facades of palaces, as well as on coats of arms and on tombstones.
The first text referring to the fact that the apostle James had been buried in Spain is the "Breviary of the Apostles." The text also refers to the "Arca Marmórica", one of the essential elements of the legend of Santiago, that is to say, the fact that his body had arrived in Galicia in a stone ark.
Throughout the High Middle Ages, there were many texts and legends dealing with the removal of the body of Santiago. Most refer to how his disciples recovered his body after his martyrdom in the Holy Land and transported him by boat to the lands of Hispania. The miraculous sea crossing - according to some versions the boat was propelled by an angel or by some other mysterious means and finally finished up in Galicia, in the port near Iria Flavia (Padron), at the meeting point of the rivers Ulla and Sar. From there, the disciples of the Saint would have continued their journey by land, in search of a suitable place to bury the Apostle.
July 25 is the feast of St. James, of St. James the Great, of the Apostle James. What does this mean? In the case of the pilgrimage to Compostela it means a lot, because at a certain point the church created the possibility of a general pardon for all pilgrims during the year in which the feast of the Saint fell on the Sabbath day, or Sunday as it now called. Thus, the Holy Years were created based on that coincidence. But this was not always the case, so that for centuries the pilgrimage to Santiago did not benefit from these special years, which were probably3 created only in the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries, following in the tradition of the Roman Jubilee or “grande perdono”.
One of the main problems of traveling in the Middle- Ages was river-crossing. The Way of St. James, one of the most widely used routes of the time, was not free from this difficulty. It was crossed by many rivers, some of which were very wide and difficult to be forded, so solutions had to be found which enabled pilgrims to pass over them, above all in winter, when the water was higher. For this reason, from the very beginning of the Way patrons and benefactors, from saints to kings, have taken care of the bridges, rebuilding and restoring the ancient Roman bridges and paths. (Photo by aherrero)