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When the "way of life" of the pilgrims becomes martyrdom for the neighbors: "Every year is worse and we are fed up with the rude"

The sound of the boots against the earth, the sticks marking the rhythm, a slight creak in the back when stretching after leaving the bag on the ground, the water from the fountain filling the canteen, the chirping of the birds, the “good path” when you come across other pilgrims, some distant harvester, the laughter of the locals… peace.

This is what probably comes to mind for many readers when talking about Santiago’s road. There are those who make the journey for a spiritual or religious reason, others do it for self-realization or culture and there are those for whom it is simply a different vacation.

But in recent weeks this atmosphere of tranquility has been broken, according to some neighbors. The last section just before reaching the Cathedral of Santiago runs through the cobbled streets of the city and the inhabitants see every day how thousands of pilgrims enter the Plaza del Obradoiro through different alleys.

“For the residents of Santiago, the massive arrival of people is a disturbance, that’s obvious, but what bothers us most is the lack of civility of some groups. There are many pilgrims who behave phenomenally, but there are others who feel a bit like they are taking over the city. They arrive here on a pilgrimage, to their destination, which is the Plaza del Obradoiro and it is already theirs,” says a resident of the historic center who works in the Administration and wishes to remain anonymous.

The Camino de Santiago is one of the oldest routes in history, although, in recent years, complaints from neighbors have increased. “The situation is not new, but every year it gets worse and we are fed up with rude pilgrims who, curiously, are old people who come on an excursion with their clubs from the town and behave very badly”, points out the administrator.

The laments before the overcrowding of the Camino have filled the social networks these days. The art historian and cultural promoter Miguel ngel Cajigal Vera, known as the baroquehas been one of those who has made the most comments denouncing the situation.

The debate on Twitter is open between those who support the pilgrims and those who claim that the situation is unsustainable. The Santiago resident and administrator does not believe that the solution is to modify the city’s tourism, since this gives it a lot of life in summer when the university students leave Santiago, but she does try to make people know the meaning of what they do.

The president of the Government of Galicia, Alfonso Ruedahas stated that the criticism these days is from “ideological positions” and that “depending on who they come from, their attitude is judged one way or another.”

Rueda has framed the protests in the celebration of the European Youth Pilgrimage which has brought together more than 12,000 Catholics in Santiago de Compostela.

European Youth Pilgrimage

The Vatican has expanded the Saint Xacobeo’s year Due to the situation generated by the coronavirus and for this reason in 2022, despite the fact that the patron saint’s day has not fallen on a Sunday, the celebrations and events continue in the city.

On the occasion of the Xacobeo the Subcommittee for Youth and Children of the Spanish Episcopal Conference has organized the European Youth Pilgrimage which is bringing together more than 12,000 people from all over Europe, although the majority come from Spain, in the capital of Galicia.

The organization has proposed to the pilgrims eleven different routes to avoid overcrowding the days before Santiago, but once in the city they all got together to carry out activities and workshops.

Young people from Granada upon their arrival in SantiagoANTONIO GUZMN

There are those who think that doing the Camino de Santiago in groups causes the profound meaning of it to be lost, but the priest and instagramer grenadian Antonio Guzmanwho is participating in the YEPs, maintains that the opposite happens: “Doing it in community makes sense because friends are a catapult to see that there is something or someone else behind them. Looking for an intimate encounter leads to nothingit is a spiritualism that consoles the heart like an opiate that lasts for a while, but then you return to your circumstances and that intimacy does not contribute anything to face the day to day”.

The 300 pilgrims that the young priest accompanies have seen along the entire Portuguese road a “explosion of joy” Y hospitality seeing so many young people “on the road and searching”. Upon arriving in the capital, they have been able to contrast some discomfort among some middle-aged people, although they are a minority.

From the PEJ they affirm that is respecting the rest of the neighbors and the activities during the morning are carried out in churches, seminaries and remote centers. In the afternoon, the events in the Plaza del Obradoiro start at 5:00 p.m. and end at 12:00 a.m. to respect the rest of the residents and pilgrims who have intense days.

The organization maintains that groups of drunk people and other types of environments are not part of the PEJ because all attendees go with responsible parties.

“I think that instead of complaining it would be good to ask yourself how is it possible that there is a ruckus during the day, with songs and joy, no alcohol, drugs or dj’s talking about breaking your heartGuzmn invites us to reflect.

consistency along the way

The neighbor from Santiago who works in the Administration believes that the problem is that many pilgrims have lost the sense of the Way to be fashionable.

“The Camino de Santiago is catalogued, it is historical, and groups of architects, archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, sociologists… at the request of the Government of Galicia they have delimited, qualified, studied… they have endowed it with content. The different roads have not been invented by Tourismyes it is something touristic because the city welcomes them, but it is a subject of history and what is missing is that respect, “says the neighbor.

For Antonio Guzmán the pilgrimage is a “way of life” where you experience joy and pain: “In life there is everything, days when you wake up highly motivated and others when you can’t take it anymore, but the essential thing is to discover that there is someone who allows that when life becomes a mountain one You don’t have to hide it or skip it, but there is an opportunity to face it.”

The problem arises when, by losing the historical or spiritual sense, the arrival in Santiago becomes an excessive party and there is a “lack of civility“says the neighbor.

The participants in the European Youth Pilgrimage comment that this lack of civility is not taking place these days and that they are careful with the rubbish they generate. “In any large bottle of 1,000 people, much more dirt is created and not collected than what 12,000 are producing these days,” they say.

To avoid coexistence problems, three city associations have created and disseminated a Decalogue of good practices for the final stretch of the Camino that YEP attendees say they know and put into practice.

Source: www.elmundo.es

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