The way is a journey that contains at the same time many other journeys, do you get the sense of this sentence? Besides the Km that we walk, for lots of pilgrims the experience symbolizes much more than that. Because of the effort, the notion of self-development, the new friendships we make, the change in the routine and the natural landscapes around us, the Way can be a very deep experience. And that’s why there are so many customs and traditions of the Santiago Way to tell you about in this post.
Pilgrims and the phoenix ashes
Each pilgrim will walk the Santiago Way in his own way and, during the trip, he or she will have a different and personal story on their mind. However, there’s a sort of shared feeling for lots of walkers, that gives meaning to some of the customs and traditions of the Santiago Way.
We’re talking about the renovation and rebirth feeling. For lots of pilgrims, the Santiago Way it’s a metaphor similar to the story of the phoenix rising from the ashes. Through this experience, they get going to leave their worries, problems and bad memories behind, so they can clean their minds to take the life easy with a renewed strength.
A purification of the body and the soul that helps thousands of pilgrims every year to make a change of scene and come back home with a new positive energy. And you, would you like bring out the phoenix in you?
A review of the customs and traditions of the Santiago Way
Thanks to this idea of the rebirth and the transformation, pilgrims have established many customs and traditions of the Santiago Way that, today, are part of the Jacobean culture and that give a more poetic meaning to the pilgrimage. Let’s do a tour around some of them!
A glass of wine in the Irache fountain
Has someone said free wine for all the pilgrims? Yes, indeed! In the Navarre town of Ayegui, the stage towards Los Arcos in the French Way, we’ll find this peculiar fountain in one of the walls of the Irache winery. And it turns out that from it we can drink wine or water for free, using our pilgrim escalope.
The tradition is rising a toast to happiness, slogan of this wine brand, and we think there’s no better way to start changing our chip than celebrating the joy with a toast.
Throwing a rock to the Fierro cross
This is one of the most literary customs and traditions of the Santiago Way. According to this ritual, the pilgrim should carry in his bag, from his place of origin, a rock as big as his pities, guilts and anxiety.
Once he or she arrives to the Fierro cross, a huge cross in the highest point of the French Way, in León, the pilgrim will throw the rock to free himself of the physic and emotional load.
Place a rock in one of the piles in the route
If you have made the Santiago Way before, you’ll probably have found these curious piles of rocks. The idea was to signpost the right route and give the walkers who came after us the confirmation that they were going through the correct way.
However, over time, this tradition has reached a new meaning: with every rock we place in the Way, we get rid of one pain or guilt.
And those who will make the epilogue to Finisterre, could be part of some special and very spiritual customs and traditions of the Santiago Way.
Take a dip in the frozen water of Costa da Morte
Pilgrims that arrived in the past to Costa da Morte, epilogue of the Santiago Way, really need a good bath. That’s why they used to jump into the water without complaints un the Langosteira beach, to wash away the dust and the mud.
Nowadays, it doesn’t matter if you arrive clean and shiny or if you are a wreck. Taking a dip naked in this beach means to have a deep figured cleaning in our souls. Purification suitable for brave people, ‘cause the water is usually really cold.
Burning our belongings in Finisterre
The last of the customs of traditions of the Santiago Way that we’re talking about in this post concerns the purifying element par excellance: the fire. It’s a ritual increasingly extended to setting our boots (or any other piece of clothing that symbolizes our past life) on fire, one we arrive to the end of this epilogue of the Way, the Finisterre lighthouse.
The fire takes away our sad moments and our modern life obsessions that torment us before the Way, in order to make our inner peace rise up strongly from its ashes.
Do you know any other traditions related to the rebirth of the pilgrim? Have you ever experienced it? We want you to tell us everything about it! You can get in touch with us through Facebook, our contact page or in the comments of this post.