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Spooky Camino: A Santa Compaña

With Halloween just around the corner we must remind you to beware of the Santa Compaña (‘Holy Company’), while on your travels on the Camino de Santiago in Galicia, specially at this time of the year.

The Santa Compaña is a procession of dead souls feared by most Galicians. This very unique procession of restless souls wanders about after midnight, favouring crossroads in the country lanes and being particularly active on special nights such as Halloween – but also Mid-Summer.

You will recognise them easily: a living person leads the souls, carrying a cross and a cauldron, while the dead souls carry lit wax candles behind the leader. The living person leading the group shouldn’t turn around to face the souls and he will only be freed from this frightening duty if he finds someone else to replace him leading the Compaña.

Santa Compaña

If you meet them at a crossroads and don’t want to be taken by them, you should draw a circle on the ground and step inside it. If you happen to be by a ‘cruceiro’ (stone cross), you will be off the dead souls’ hook if you quickly move up to the steps. The one thing you should never do if you encounter the Santa Compaña, under any circumstances, is accept one of the souls’ candles, otherwise, you will become part of the procession.

If you know any other spooky Camino stories and Galician rituals please tell us all about them.


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