El Camino de Santiago: The Growth of Pilgrimage and the Changing Spiritual Experience on the Road to Santiago de Compostela

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The pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago (El Camino de Santiago or The Way of Saint James, in English) is originally a Christian pilgrimage dating back to early medieval times. It has recently become more popular than the previous years. The pilgrimage began in order to visit the apostolic tomb of Saint James, but recent studies have shown that people now focus on the journey as opposed to the arrival in Santiago (Peelen and Jansen, 2007). The change of religiosity and spiritually along El Camino de Santiago has interesting implications for pilgrims’ motivations, the impact on an individual and the community, the correlation of motivations and the emotions experienced, and expectations compared to actual experience. In addition to this, the different routes along El Camino de Santiago attract different people and thus different communities are formed around each of the routes of the pilgrimage. This paper will expand upon previous research with three weeks of fieldwork conducted on El Camino de Santiago Primitivo and in the city of Santiago. The Camino Primitivo (Primitive Way in English) is a less-traveled route of El Camino that starts in Oviedo, spans 330 km, and ends in Santiago.



Religions, Pilgrimage, Anthropology, El Camino de Santiago, Spain, Santiago de Compostela, Spirituality, Cathedral of Santiago