You might have heard or seen the word ‘Ultreia’ mentioned when researching, reading about or indeed while walking the Camino de Santiago.
The word ‘Ultreia’ (also ‘ultrella’ or ‘ultreya’) comes from Latin and it means ‘beyond’. Ultreia is another pilgrim salute, like the more popular ‘Buen Camino!’. While ‘Buen Camino’ literally means ‘have a good journey, a good Camino’, the meaning of ‘Ultreia!’ goes a bit deeper, implying encouragement to keep going, reaching ‘beyond’, heading onwards.
It is also believed Medieval pilgrims used to greet each other with ‘Ultreia, Suseia, Santiago’, meaning something like ‘beyond,upwards, Santiago’. Other sources suggest ‘Ultreia’ was used in the same way as ‘Hallelujah’, once pilgrims finally reached Santiago de Compostela.
The word is mentioned in the Codex Calixtinus (the first Camino de Santiago guide! dating back to the 12th century), from the ‘Song of Ultreia’, a song for pilgrims on their way to Santiago.
*Sources: www.codexcalixtinus.es (in Spanish)
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