The "Credenciale"

Day one, all pilgrims are issued a “pilgrims passport” or “credenciale” which distinguishes them as pilgrims. The credenciale is typically issued after a “Pilgrims Mass” which is a religious ceremony which celebrates the “sending forth” of the pilgrims. This document is required for entry to pilgrim housing and access to pilgrim meals/menu's, and other destinations/activities that are reserved for pilgrims. Every stop along the way, be it a pilgrim hostel, church, museum, etc., has a unique stamp that marks the credenciale. Upon arrival in the city of Santiago de Compostela, pilgrims are issued a certificate of completion known as a “Compostela”. This certificate is an official document of the Catholic Church and has been issued for nearly 1,000 years. In order to acquire a Compostela certificate, pilgrims are required to collect one stamp per day, as a means to verify that they have travelled the route to Santiago de Compostela.