pilgrim badges

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  11. pilgrim badges
Scope note
Refers to small plaques available at the major shrines visited by pilgrims and worn by successful pilgrims as a souvenir and proof of their journey. The badges celebrated the saint or devotional object venerated at the pilgrimage site. Amongst the most distinctive pilgrim badges are the scallop-shell badges from the shrine of St James in Santiago de Compostella, a badge sold as early as the 11th century. Badges were usually made of metal and were usually worn pinned to a hat. Badges also provided practical benefits, by marking the wearer as a person entitled to aid, hospitality and safe-conduct, for example; there were also supernatural benefits since badges were normally allowed to touch the shrine they commemorated and were thus thought to be transformed into secondary relics. Pilgrim badges were especially popular in the Middle Ages in Europe, particularly in the 14th and 15th centuries, but declined after the Reformation of the mid-16th century. However, there are a few instances of sites that continue to use associated badges in the present day.
pilgrim badges
Accepted term: 10-Jun-2024