Christmas Camino: who brings the presents?

caminoways-christmas-log-traditionsWe have very pressing questions to answer ahead of Christmas for our Camino de Santiago pilgrims: will Santa find me if I’m on the Camino de Santiago at Christmas? who will bring my presents?

Having gifts delivered by Santa is a relatively recent development in most of Spain but Santa will most certainly find you even if you are walking the Camino de Santiago. He will be delivering presents across Spain, France and Portugal very early in the morning of 25th December.

However, if you are walking across Spain, you might also have a few additional surprises:

For instance, if you are walking the Camino in the Basque Country, for instance following the Northern Way or Camino del Norte from San Sebastian to Bilbao; you might get a gift from the ‘Olentzero’, a Basque farmer with beret and pipe who delivers presents to those children who have been good all year.

three-wise-men-christmas-camino-de-santiago-caminowaysIf you are taking the Catalan Way, you need to place your order with the ‘Tió de Nadal’  or ‘Caga tio’ instead. The Caga tio is a gift-pooping Christmas log with a red beret and he delivers presents to the children in Catalonia in quite an unusual way: you will need to sing a song and beat the log with a stick in order to get your presents.

Once you make it to inland Galicia, the person you might encounter in charge of your presents is ‘O Apalpador’. He is a ginger-bearded mountain folk who heads down to the villages and towns on 24th or 31st December to check if children have eaten enough during the year. If he feels you have been good, he might give you a few chestnuts, food and other gifts. You will certainly encounter him around the mountains of O Cebreiro, for instance, and he tends to make an annual visit to the city of Lugo.

caminoways-apalpador-christmas-traditionIf you are still on the Camino de Santiago for the 6th January, then you should watch out for The Three Wise Men coming from the East riding their camels. They will be in charge of bringing your presents. Don’t forget to leave some snacks for their thirsty and hungry camels. They have come a long way!

And if you are travelling on the Via Francigena in Italy, the Camino to Rome, it will be the old witch Befana who will deliver your gifts.

For more information about the Camino de Santiago or to book your Camino holiday, contact our travel specialists

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