Santiago de Compostela Local Customs

  • Santiago de Compostela
    Santiago de Compostela
    by lotharscheer
  • Santiago de Compostela
    Santiago de Compostela
    by lotharscheer
  • Santiago de Compostela
    Santiago de Compostela
    by lotharscheer

Most Recent Local Customs in Santiago de Compostela

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    Iconography of St JAMES.

    by breughel Updated Jul 22, 2013

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    SANTIAGO MATAMOROS
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    The oldest figurations of St James show him as an Apostle, a book or parchment in the hand. He appears in that figuration on the Portico of the Glory.
    The most widespread Iconography is that of St Jacques pilgrim with stick and gourd as represented in Capilla Mayor of the cathedral.
    Another image, equestrian and military of the Apostle gained in importance during the 12th century.
    This military figuration of St James resulted from the legend according to which he would have intervened against the Muslims at the siege of Coïmbra (Portugal).
    It is “Santiago Matamoros” St James the killer of Moors. (“matar” means to kill in Spanish).
    Santiago Matamoro became patron saint of Galicia and Spain except Catalonia which preferred St George, killer of the dragon.
    It should be reminded that the military figure of St James results from the seven centuries long fight for the liberation of the Iberian Peninsula invaded in 711 by the Muslims.
    The city and the sanctuary of Santiago de Compostela were plundered in 997 by the troops of Al-Mansur. Consternation was very large in Christendom.
    Santiago Matamoros became the emblem of the Reconquest starting from the north of Spain and ending with the fall of Grenade in 1492.

    The wars of Reconquista were not permanent; there were periods of peace and trade between the Christian and Moorish kingdoms.

    One curiosity of this history is that Moorish potentates took a fancy to the blonde blue eyed women of Galicia and would marry them, so that, from generation to generation, the last emirs were blond, with blue eyes and more Galician than Arab blood.

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    Los Caballeros de Santiago - Order of St James

    by breughel Updated Jul 22, 2013

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    Cross of the order of St James

    Originally, this order consisted of Galician's who, by 1160, worried about the residence of the pilgrims on the road leading to Compostela. Some were canons, the others formed a laymen's brotherhood of knights.
    Their military action began far from Santiago, because they were entrusted with the protection of Caceres, in Estremadura, only just reconquerred on the Muslims.
    They then established an order of chivalry: Caballeros de la Espada, "Knights of the Sword" in memory of the sword of the apostle St James Matamoros.
    In the 16th century, the Order became very powerful and possessed hundreds of commanderies, as many castles, around thirty convents, hospitals, two hundred churches, cities and villages, and the university in Salamanca. The seat of the order was established in Ucles, in the Province of Cuenca.

    The order comprised several affiliated classes: canons, charged with the administration of the sacraments; canonesses, occupied with the service of pilgrims; religious knights living in community, and married knights. This right to marry and the mildness of the rule of the Canons of St. Augustine furthered the rapid spread of the order.
    The Brothers wore the white mantle, with on the left-hand side of the breast a red cross terminating in a sword, which recalls their title de la Espada, and a shell which they owed to their connection with the pilgrimage of St. James.
    The number of knights was then 400 and they could muster more than 1000 "lances" for their participation in the famous battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 which terminated the domination of the Almohades.

    In 1592, king Philippe II incorporated the Order to the Crown of Spain.
    Since this time, the kings of Spain preserved the titles and the dignity of Grand Master and administrator of the order who is so placed under the protection of the crown.

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    The "Camino" - Return of tradition.

    by breughel Updated Jul 22, 2013

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    Signpost in France

    While the old continent moved to a strong secularization, Santiago (St James) of Compostela attracts more and more christian and agnostic walkers who wish to make the long way of St James in a purpose of spiritual renewal.

    The "Camino Frances", 800 km from the Roncesvalles near the French border, one month of marching, is the most known but there are many others Camino's in Spain, without taking into account the St James Ways in the nearby countries.

    In 2010 ( holy year) there were 272.135 officially listed pilgrims, having received the certificate "Compostela"; that are those who travelled at least 100 km on foot ( 87 %) or 200 km on bicycle (12 %) or horse (0,5%) . Most are from Spain but the Camino Frances is the most used way with 69 %. There are all the other visitors who come by car, by bus or plane.

    Santiago of Compostela was the third holy city of the Christendom and, in my opinion, the only city from the three ancient holy ones still really active as such. Indeed Jerusalem has in the history of the Christendom been often inaccessible. Rome, presently, is much more than the capital of Catholicism; it is the capital of the antique Roman Empire and the capital of the modern Italy so that the notion of "holy city" got diluted on the contrary of Santiago de Compostela which remains essentially a city of pilgrimage.

    There are many guides of the Ways of Compostela with abundance of practical details on roads and accommodations.
    This practice to describe the Ways of St James already began in the 12th century. The pilgrims of that time made benefit from their often dangerous road experience those who would follow them.
    In a sense, the Virtual Tourist of the Middle Ages.

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    bull fights in Plaza de Toros de Najera

    by globetrott Written Oct 25, 2012

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    Bull fights are not really "my cup of tea" but in a way it might be interesting to know for some people, that these fights are still taking place in this part of Spain (while other parts of the country have obviously given up to do this kind of cruelty).
    Not everybody in Spain is happy about the bullfights and obviously also the bulls have improoved their kind of fighting, just take a look at this link !

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    lovely benches & great coats of arms

    by globetrott Written Oct 22, 2012

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    You will find these lovely benches at many places in Najera. I was really happy to find them also in front of the famous monastery, because we had been there too early in the morning and had to wait for the museum & monastery to open at 10.00am !
    From OUTside the monastery Santa Maria la Real did not look very special, but make sure to see its interior as well !

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    make me the bull ;-)

    by globetrott Written Jul 11, 2012

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    This was a funny surprise of me to see in Spain: Obviously this "bull on wheels"
    is used by children who want to play bullfighting.
    I really hope that some day this sort of game for children is the only "left over" from the cruelties and insanity of bullfighting in Spain.
    In some places they gave up the bullfights already, but some regions still stick to this crazy tradition unfortunately.

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    fancy doors & door-kockers

    by globetrott Updated Jun 26, 2012

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    In Cirauqui you will also find a lot of fancy, ancient doors & door-knockers, just keep your eyes open while walking the Camino and you will see a lot of interesting local architecture that way. Most of the ones that are shown here are from the street right after the first towngate of Zirauki / Cirauqui.

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    a local sports-centre

    by globetrott Written Jun 24, 2012

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    This is a building that is used for a local sport thats name I have forgotten, maybe somebody here on VT knows what kind of a sport is played there.
    What I found interesting is the fact that many such sports-halls are to be found in that area and most of them seem to have used old parts of the medieval townwalls as a part of the stadion, at least it looks that way.

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    a small and simple Albergue & toilets

    by globetrott Updated Jun 24, 2012

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    There is no village nor any private house closeby the church of Santa Maria de Eunate, but there is a small and simple Albergue next to the church and also some toilets. You will also find a fountain and some tables and benches for picknicks.
    And there is a large carpark, so you can drive there easily and park your car there free of charge, while visiting the church or maybe start some hikes.

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    watch out for the tiles

    by globetrott Written Jun 21, 2012

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    Watch out for the tiles that cover the local houses ! I very much enjoyed their way of covering the houses by rows of tiles heaped up in a special way partly also with heavy stones holding them down against the strong winds that occur in that area.

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    drinkingwater in the streets

    by globetrott Written Jun 21, 2012

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    Almost in any village along the Camino you will find fountains, where you can find drinkingwater to fill up your hiking-bottle. Except at a very few places this water will always be drinkable, and where it is not, you will find signs warning you !
    So it will absolutely not be necassesary to buy any bottled water along the way in a Supermarket.
    In Uterga you will also find an old fountain in the centre of the village - my last 4 pictures - BUT this one does NOT have any drinkable water, as you can read on the signpost !

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    El Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James)

    by Redang Updated Mar 25, 2012

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    Calle del Franco (Santiago de C. Spain)

    I wouldn't say that this is a local costume or tradition due to it's very well known all over the world, and people from almost all four corners of the world go to Santiago de Compostela as pilgrims.

    The discovery of the tomb of the Apóstol Santiago (Apostle James), the son of Zebedee and brother of John the Evangelist, changed the appearance of a small Roman settlement in the northwest Iberian Peninsula that, with the passing of the centuries, had become a necropolis; it was also a turning point in the spiritual history of a continent that soon set about building a road in order to reach the precious relic.

    The pilgrimage to Santiago soon became the most outstanding and most profoundly experienced religious phenomenon of the Middle Ages, a fact that was recently recognised by the European Parliament, which designated the Way the First European Cultural Itinerary, and by UNESCO, which declared it a World Heritage route.

    There are several "Caminos de Santiago" (Ways of St. James):
    - French Way
    - Aragonese Way
    - Primitive Way
    - North Way
    - Portuguese Way
    - English Way
    - Silver Way
    - Arousa Sea and Ulla River Jacobean Itinerary
    - Finisterre Way

    As far as I know, maybe I am wrong, there is not an offical website but many, so, I give you one link that offers the info in different languages.

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    Ordre de St Jacques

    by breughel Updated Apr 9, 2011

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    Croix de l'ordre de Santiago

    This long tip was written in French and separately in English at a time where VT limited the number of characters.

    A l'origine, cet ordre se composait de Galiciens qui, vers 1160, se préoccupaient de l'hébergement des pèlerins sur la route menant à Compostelle. Les uns étaient des chanoines, les autres formaient une confrérie de laïcs, chevaliers valeureux.
    Leur action militaire commença loin de Santiago, puisqu'on leur confia la protection de Caceres, en Estremadura, tout juste reconquise sur les musulmans. Ils fondèrent alors un ordre de chevalerie: Caballeros de la Espada, « Chevaliers de l'Épée » en souvenir de l'épée brandie par l'apôtre saint Jacques le matamore sous le patronage duquel ils se placèrent.
    Au XVIe siècle, l'Ordre devenu très puissant possédait une centaine de commanderies, autant de châteaux, une trentaine de couvents, hôpitaux, deux cent églises,villes et villages, et l’université à Salamanque. Le siège de l'ordre s'établit à Ucles, dans la Province de Cuenca

    Une branche de l'ordre de Santiago groupe les clercs, sous la direction d'un Grand Prieur, suivant la règle assez douce des chanoines de Saint Augustin, Les chevaliers de Santiago, demeurés laïques, forment la seconde branche de l'ordre et peuvent se marier. C'est la douceur de cette règle de St Augustin qui explique le succès de l'ordre.
    Les Frères portaient l'habit blanc, avec sur le côté gauche de la poitrine, la célèbre épée de satin rouge et une coquille. Ils étaient environ 400 et assemblèrent plus de 1000 "lances" pour leur participation à la célèbre bataille de Las Navas de Tolosa en 1212 qui mit fin à la domination Almohade.

    En 1592, le roi Philippe II incorpore l'Ordre à la Couronne d'Espagne.
    Depuis cette époque, les rois d’Espagne ont conservé les titres et dignité de grand maître et administrateur de l’ordre qui est ainsi placé sous la protection de la couronne.

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    Iconographie de Saint Jacques

    by breughel Updated Apr 9, 2011

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    SANTIAGO MATAMOROS
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    This long tip was written in French and separately in English at a time where VT limited the number of characters.

    Les plus anciennes figurations de St Jacques le représentant en Apôtre, un livre ou parchemin à la main. C'est ainsi qu'il figure sur le Portique de la Gloire.
    L'Iconographie la plus répandue est celle de St Jacques pèlerin avec bâton et gourde comme représenté à la Capilla Mayor de la cathédrale.
    Une autre image équestre et militaire de l'Apôtre se consolide au XIIe siècle. Elle provient de la légende qu'il serait intervenu contre les musulmans à la prise de Coimbra (Portugal). C'est "Santiago Matamoros" St Jacques le tueur de maures, puisque "matar" se traduit par tuer.
    Santiago Matamoros devient le saint patron de la Galicia et de l'Espagne à l'exception de la Catalogne qui préféra St Georges qui lui tuait les dragons.

    Il faut se remémorer que la figure militaire de St Jaques se situe dans le cadre de la lutte de libération de la péninsule Ibérique. En 711 les musulmans envahirent la péninsule ibérique et en 997 les troupes d'Al-Mansur pillèrent la ville et le sanctuaire de Santiago de Compostela. La consternation fut grande dans la chrétienté.
    Santiago Matamoros fut l'emblème de la Reconquête à partir du nord de l'Espagne qui se termina par la chute de Grenade en 1492.
    Les guerres de la Reconquista n'étaient pas permanentes; il y eut des périodes de paix et d'échanges commerciaux entre les royaumes chrétiens et mauresques.
    Une curiosité de cette histoire est que des potentats musulmans épousèrent des femmes blondes aux yeux bleus de Galicia, pour lesquelles ils avaient une préférence, de telle sorte que, de génération en génération, les derniers émirs étaient des blonds, aux yeux bleus avec plus de sang galicien qu'arabe.

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    Retour de la tradition du "Camino".

    by breughel Updated Apr 9, 2011

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    Blason de Santiago de Compostela

    This long tip was written in French and separately in English at a time where VT limited the number of characters.

    Alors que le vieux continent s'est fortement sécularisé, St Jacques de Compostelle attire de plus en plus de marcheurs chrétiens et agnostiques qui souhaitent faire le long chemin de Compostelle dans un but de ressourcement spirituel.
    Le Camino Frances, soit 800 km à partir de Roncevaux près de la frontière française, 1 mois de marche, est le plus connu mais il en existe bien d'autres en Espagne même, sans tenir compte des Chemins de St Jacques dans les pays voisins.

    Alors au matin ils attendent au pied de la cathédrale, ceux qui sont venus à pied avec leurs bottines de randonnée (le Camino traverse de régions montagneuses) et leur bâton de marche (le "bourdon") et ceux qui sont venus en bicyclette.

    Surprenante et émouvante ville monumentale que Santiago de Compostela la troisième ville sainte de la Chrétienté et seul lieu ancien de pèlerinage encore vraiment actif dans le monde chrétien. En effet Jérusalem a dans l'histoire de la chrétienté été le plus souvent inaccessible; Rome, en dehors de la Basilique St Pierre et le Vatican, se visite surtout pour ses monuments de l'antiquité romaine.
    St Jacques de Compostelle reste, quant à elle, essentiellement une ville de pèlerinage.
    En 2005 il y eut 93.924 pèlerins officiellement recensés (ayant reçu le certificat "Compostela") c'est-à-dire ceux qui ont fait au moins 100 km à pied ou 200 km en bicyclette.
    Généralement 80% viennent à pied. En outre, il y a tous les autres visiteurs qui viennent en voiture, en autobus ou en avion. Attendez vous à faire la file pour saluer le saint selon la tradition.

    Il existe une littérature étendue en matière de guides des Chemins de Compostelle avec abondance de détails pratiques sur les routes et les hébergements.
    Cette pratique de décrire le chemin commença déjà au XIIe siècle. Les pèlerins de l'époque faisaient bénéficier de leur expérience de la route ceux qui les suivraient. En quelque sorte un Virtual Tourist du moyen âge.

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