Historically, Galicia is known as a land of witchcraft and superstitions. Tales from Galicia have traveled all over the world partly spread by returning pilgrims that walked the Camino de Santiago. One of its most popular legends is ”La Santa Compaña” the procession of the dead.
The Premonition of Death is one of the more popular version of the tale especially along the Camino de Santiago.
On some foggy and misty nights, some pilgrims claimed to have seen a procession in two files coming towards them. The leader was a person carrying a cross and a pot of Holy Water. The followers were all wrapped in shrouds, hands cold and feet bared. They seemed to be carrying a lighted candle each however the candle seemed invisible but one could tell that it was there because of the smell of the melting wax carried by a light breeze. These are the signs that the procession is a legion of ghosts or spirits.
The bearer of the cross, La Santa Compaña, must keep going forward and never look back. La Santa Compaña can only be retired when a replacement leader is found and assume the responsibility of leading the procession.
Be alert when walking the Camino some foggy and misty night especially during All Saints Day or Halloween. If you come across such a procession, just stand aside and let them pass. If it is dark and you don’t have a flash or head light, never accept an offer of a lighted candle from the procession or you will be the willing replacement of “La Santa Compaña”.
By the way Sue Kenney already finished her Camino once more spending a good time and she is not going to be over there waiting for La Santa Compaña.
After a successful presentation and book launch at the recent International Forum of the Camino de Santiago, Sue Kenney the renounced author of the bestseller “ Mi Camino “ found time for some R & R along the Camino Frances. Sue however will not be celebrating All Saints Day/Halloween in Santiago, she is not ready to become a “La Santa Compaña”.
On the lighter side other than the Procession of the Dead, there will be always be the Sesamo Parade. More welcoming to children and parents.