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El camino de Santiago

I'm not Christian. Therefore Christmas is one of the annual events like everyone else in the world. However I also have some yearning for feeling the holy night atmosphere in holy place. So where is the holy place? Church or cathedral must be the one. On Christmas, God might forgive me for going the church with temporal Christianity. Well, I should spend Christmas night at one of the most dignified church in the world. From the quite simple reason, I decided to spend Christmas Eve at the cathedral of Santiago de compostela in Spain.

In the 9th century, a shepherd found the St. Jacob's remains in this exact place. The cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was built for deifying it. In short, it's one of the most dignified and stately cathedral in Europe. Whichever the remains of Jacob in the coffin was real or not, it's easy to understand even for me, The One Night Christian, that the antique cathedral was so gallant for both interior and exterior. It gave me similar impression to an old Buddhist temple.

However for visiting such a magnificent cathedral, I made a big mistake. I took schedule much quicker than I had planed. And I got there a week before Christmas. Of course I had a choice staying there for entire week. But there was nothing special but the cathedral. (Well, it's enough for special, but .... ) I could not make patience. Then I left the city. "Joining the mass at the cathedral of Santiago de Compastela in Christmas Eve" The back bone of the travel was cracked so easily.

In the bus from Compostela, driver and old passengers was talking.
"Once, going to Santiago meant hundreds miles of walk, didn't it uh? But now a day, people flew to La Coluna directly. Then they take bus to Santiago "
Well, I had heard about "El camino de Santiago (Road to Santiago)" There were several pilgrimage routes from France to the church in Garician region. Pilgrims put on the shell shaped pendant and head for Santiago. When they get to the cathedral, they attend to Mass. Then for purifying the dirty body after the long pilgrimage, a huge incense burner sustained from the ceilings is swung just above the pilgrims.

Even now, there are many pilgrims heading for Santiago de Compastela. Actually, I talked to some young pilgrims. To save the money, they were offered beds and meals by the normal citizen in good faith. However in most of the part, modern pilgrimage is different from the traditional one. Maybe it includes some amusement taste. For example, I heard that there are many people going to Santiago by bicycles from various cities in Europe.

Listening the conversation by the passengers I thought my pilgrimage to Santiago for spending the Christmas was so fickle. Now I think the real reason that I left from Santiago de Compostela was not simply by schedule but I ashamed exposing myself in front of the dignified church and faithful people at holy night.

Dec. 2006

Today's piece
" Cathedral " Santiago de Compostela, Spain 1997

Lagos Christmas Special

fumikatz osada photographie