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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    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.

    SANTIAGO MATAMOROS Cross of the military order of Santiago
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    Los Caballeros de Santiago - Order of St James

    by breughel Updated Jul 22, 2013

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    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.

    Cross of the order of St James
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    The "Camino" - Return of tradition.

    by breughel Updated Jul 22, 2013

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    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.

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

    by Redang Updated Mar 25, 2012

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    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.

    Calle del Franco (Santiago de C. Spain)

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    Ordre de St Jacques

    by breughel Updated Apr 9, 2011

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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.

    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.

    Croix de l'ordre de Santiago
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    Iconographie de Saint Jacques

    by breughel Updated Apr 9, 2011

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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.

    SANTIAGO MATAMOROS ST JACQUES L'APOTRE ST JACQUES PELERIN
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    Retour de la tradition du "Camino".

    by breughel Updated Apr 9, 2011

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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.

    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.

    Blason de Santiago de Compostela
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    Luggage storage near the Cathedral

    by lotharscheer Updated Nov 19, 2010

    You are not allowed to bring bags or other big things into the Cathedral.
    There is a very convenient luggage storage about 100 meter from the main entrence of the Cathedral in Rua do Vilar (nr. 5 ? i think) , € 2 per item until 9 pm.

    Santiago de Compostela Santiago de Compostela Santiago de Compostela Santiago de Compostela Santiago de Compostela
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    Año Santo-Puerta Santa

    by Redang Updated Nov 4, 2010

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    Año Santo (Holy Year) Compostelano is when Santiago's day (25 July) is on Sunday. On New Year's eve of the Holy Year, the Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela knocks three times on the Puerta Santa o Puerta del Perdón (Holy Door or Pardon's Door) with a silver hammer, after the third knock, the doors tears apart.

    One side of the door is inside the Cathedral (main pic), and the other side is at Praza de la Quintana (second and third pics).

    I was in Santiago de Compostela in 2.010 (Holy Year), so, the door was open (last pic).

    Puerta Santa (Cathedral of Santiago de C. (Spain) Puerta Santa (Cathedral of Santiago de C. (Spain) Puerta Santa (Cathedral of Santiago de C. (Spain) Puerta Santa (Cathedral of Santiago de C. (Spain) Puerta Santa (Cathedral of Santiago de C. (Spain)

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    Gaiteros (Pipers)

    by Redang Written Nov 3, 2010

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    It's not unusual to find some gaiteros playing bagpipes in the streets of Santiago de Compostela.

    The gaita (bagpipes), is a tradicional instrument form Galicia (apart from Asturias, north of Spain, and some other places in Europe).

    Gaitero/Piper (Santiago de C., Spain)

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    El Botafumeiro

    by Redang Updated Nov 3, 2010

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    El Botafumeiro is a big incensory of around 45 kgs. of weight and 1,5 m. of height. It was built in 1.554 thanks to an offer of King Luis XI of France. The first one was made of solver but it was stolen by french troops in 1.809.

    The tradition is the swinging (from the dome on the roof, see pics) of the Botafumeiro after the pilgrims' mass at noon every day during the Holy Year. The Botafumeiro is carried and swung by eight men in red robes called tiraboleiros. The term "tiraboleiro" is a Galician distortion of the Latin word "turifer", which means "incense carrier".

    Note: The Botafumeiro can be seen in the Chapter Room of the Cathedral's Museum.

    Botafumeiro (Cathedral of Santiago de C., Spain) Cathedral of Santiago de C. (Spain) Cathedral of Santiago de C. (Spain) Botafumeiro (Cathedral of Santiago de C., Spain)

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    Galician Cuisine

    by suvanki Updated Jul 6, 2010

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    One good reason to visit Santiago de Compostela is to enjoy the excellent food available in the many restaurants, shops and the market

    Seafood is its speciality -

    Pulpo a la gallega - octopus with olive oil and paprika,
    Pulpo a feira or cachelos- octopus and potato
    Chipirones-small squid served whole
    Chocos -larger breed of squid
    Mexillons -mussels
    Ameixas- clams
    Veiras-scallops
    Berberechos - cockles
    Navajas - razor clams
    Percebes-barnacles
    Bogavante-similar to lobster
    Necoras - small crabs
    Buey del mar- a large crab
    Gambas-prawns
    Langostino-king prawn

    Also oysters, crayfish, shrimps etc.

    Hake, Turbot, grouper, Sea Bass, dolphin fish, sole, sea bream, angler, mackerel, sardines(xoubinos), marraxo-a type of shark, eels (anguilas) are all to be found.

    Seafood is also used in soups, stews, paellas, pies or pickles

    Galician Pie or empanada - are pastries filled with fish, meat or seafood with raisins or tomatoes added. An empanadilla is a bite size version.

    Caldo Gallego is a soup made from cabbage or turnip tops, potato and a small piece of meat-sometimes smoked pig fat. There are many varieties of this Galician speciality. I tried this and enjoyed it!

    Galician Beef is renowned for its quality, and pork is to be found in many dishes throughout the winter, when the pig is slaughtered and every piece is utilised in cuts of meat, some being preserved by smoking, brining, making into sausages etc.

    Display in fish restaurant window Galician food - shop window display
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    Peregrinos y La Tuna

    by elpariente Written Aug 20, 2009

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    Los peregrinos y los tunos son personajes que van ligados a la vida de Santiago de Compostela :
    - Los peregrinos que con sus conchas , su bastón y su pesada mochila llegan a Santiago , después de haber deseado "Ultreya" infinidad de veces a los que han encontrado en el camino , y que van en dirección a la Catedral para completar su " Camino " , que pued ser místico , religioso o simplemente deportivo , pero que en todos los casos será algo inolvidable
    - Los tunos . Santiago es una ciudad con gran tradición estudiantil y universitaria y por eso siempre te puedes encontrar a estudiantes o "eternos estudiantes " , que con sus capas negras llenas de cintas de colores , alegran las noches de Santiago con su música y sus canciones


    Tunos and pilgrims and characters that are linked to the life of Santiago de Compostela:
    - Pilgrims with their shells, their stick and their heavy backpack , arrive in Santiago , after the desire "Ultreya" many times to all those that found in their way, going towards the Catedral to complete their "Camino " , which can be mystical, religious or sportive , but in all cases will be unforgettable
    - The Tunos. Santiago is a city with a great tradition of colleges and universities and therefore you can always find students or "eternal students", with their black coat full of colured laces and ribbons , that makes happy the night in Santiago with their music and songs%c

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    Las Marías

    by elpariente Written Aug 17, 2009

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    Las Marías son dos esculturas que están a la entrada de La Alameda.

    Son parte de la historia y leyenda de Santiago. Se hicieron famosas por sus paseos y conversaciones con los estudiantes y por las ropas que llevaban llenas de colorido , en una época en que el negro y los colores sobrios eran los más frecuentes y recomendados para personas de sus edades.
    Maruxa y Corelia eran dos hermanas costureras

    A estas esculturas se les conoce además como Las dos en punto, por ser la hora a la que solían salir las hermanas a hacer sus rutinarios recorridos.
    Eran "las novias" de todos los estudiantes

    The Marias are two sculptures that are located at the entrance of The Alameda.

    They are part of the history and legend of Santiago. They became famous for their walks and talks with students and the clothes they worn full of colours , in a time when the black and The sober colors were the most frequent and recommended for people of their ages.
    Maruxa and Corelia were two dressmakers sisters
    These sculptures are known also as "the two o'clock" , because it was the time that the sisters used make their routine walks.
    They were "brides" of all students

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    Tarta de Santiago

    by MaheshSamtani Written Apr 29, 2007

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    Tarta de Santiago is a local delicacy. It is a cake made of Almonds with a sugar powder topping. Simply delicious. This is something that I try to taste as regularly as possible, however it was a must buy when in Santiago. the question is where do I get the good stuff and not get nothing less than my expectations. The main street called Rua Franco has many stores where the salesman will literally catch you and sell you this item as well as other local delicacies. The price of this cake here is 8 Euros, which is not expensive but I found better prices in the adjecent streets. I landed up buying 2 for 7 Euros at the following address
    Autoservicio El Dubres - C/ Azabacheria Nº 8 - Santiago - Tlf: 981 58 43 04. It is just a supermarket. The product was good, fresh and tasty - upto my expectations.

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