Galicia has earned the nickname “terra meiga” (magic or enchanters land) thanks to its tradition strongly bounded to legends and mythological characters, which set up the basis of this popular culture from the times of its Celtic past. Do you know any legends of the Camino de Santiago? It’s very important for us to know them before setting off, to avoid any problems with magical creatures in the way.
Meigas, diaños, feiticeiras and trasnos
Galician oral tradition has it own characters, magical residents of the dense forests, like meigas (witches), diaños (devils), feiticeiras (sorcerers) and trasnos (similar to Irish Leprechaun). The last ones are probably the most famous.
Have you ever seen a trasno? Hum… Maybe! Have you ever lost something in your house? Something that you were totally sure about where it was the last time you saw it?
A trasno is a naughty magical creature that enjoys pranking Galician people: they love to hide kitchen utensils, to change the location of the stuff and to make a mess of the houses. They have been doing this kind of mischieves for thousands of years!
Witches in Galicia? “Habelas, hainas”
The legends around the Camino de Santiago make it even more interesting for pilgrims, and that´s why we want to tell you three of them. These three stories took place in Galicia, or at least that’s what it’s been said for centuries.
You can read this article as a tale, but also as a practical manual, because even the most skeptical ones recognize that there’s still some magic hidden on the Galician landscapes. And the thing is, like the locals often say, “eu non creo nas meigas, pero habelas, hainas”, which means: “I don’t believe in witches, but there are some”.
Are you ready for a magical trip? In this post we’ll tell you two legends intertwined with History, in order to take you in a journey to the times of the apostle and his disciples, the very first pilgrims.
The journey of the Apostle, the first legend of the Camino de Santiago
This story, as many others, is a wonderful mix between reality and fantasy. It’s really important because it could be the first reason, the original sense of the Camino de Santaigo, nothing less! Let’s hear about the first of the legends of the Camino de Santiago.
Long, long time ago the Apostol Santiago was killed by Herodes the king, who ordered that his body should not be buried. He wanted the Apostol’s body to be eaten by the wild animals instead. But of course his friends could not tolerate such an offense, so they decided to steal the corp during the night. Then they run away to the beach, where they found a boat ready to sail, like if it was placed there by God.
They placed the body of their friend in a tomb made of stone and navigate to accomplish his last will: to be buried in Santiago. The wind was totally friendly with them during all the journey and almost magically drove them to Galicia. Over his grave was built a temple and around this temple was born Santiago de Compostela, magic and blessed city.
The pilgrim scallop, last miracle of the Apostle Santiago
The next of the legends of the Camino de Santiago is also about the apostle. In the boat trip from Jerusalem to Santiago, it’s said that the saint had time to make his last miracle… And this miracle would be the origin of the traditional pilgrim scallop.
Have you ever wondered why do they carry a scallop? It’s also a beautiful legend!
Once upon a time, a man was riding his horse along the beach when he saw a boat that looked in trouble, near to be shipwrecked. The man ride to the seashore to help this people in the boat but, suddenly, a big wave swallowed him and his horse. The man, feeling he was dying, prayed God for help and asked him to save him. In that moment, him and his horse flew to the sea surface like floating and appeared on the sand. They were both covered in scallops. The apostle, from the boat, has made his last miracle to save them.
In the next post we’ll tell you some other legends of the oral Galician culture, also full of magic but with some less historical characters…
What do you think about the myths and legends of the Camino de Santiago?
Do you know any other legend that you want to share with us? Tell us in the comments section or in Facebook!