Not such a stupid question.  Why is the scallop a symbol of pilgrims?

Not such a stupid question. Why is the scallop a symbol of pilgrims?

The seashell is the emblem of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela… but why? (©Archives/76actu/Actu.fr)

The scallop season starts on Monday 3 October 2022 on the coast of Normandy, especially Seine-Maritime. But by the way, why and how did the shell become the emblem of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela and, in a wider sense, the symbol of pilgrims?

Evidence, memory and protection

Via Compostela enthusiast site informs: “At the beginning of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, walkers collected seashells they found on the beaches of Galicia and proudly carried them on their way back as proof of their journey and as a souvenir. »

In addition, and this goes back to ancient times, the shell was attributed with protective virtues against witchcraft, bad luck and even disease.

“For these symbolic reasons, the shell was inserted as an attribute of the apostle Saint-Jacques, from whom it took its name. Pilgrims hung it on a bag, hat, raincoat or even a bumblebee. The shell has become a symbol of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. It allowed them to distinguish themselves from other travelers, drink from fountains and ask for alms from the inhabitants,” the page continues.

Renewal of popularity in the XXE century

The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela was one of the most important pilgrimages in the Middle Ages. It disappeared in the 19th centuryE century, has experienced a resurgence in popularity since the second half of the 20sE. Today, the general symbol and markings on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela are yellow seashells on a blue background.

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