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Ultreia et Suseia, is a message in Latin still present in the Way of Saint James. Among the pilgrims who walk one of the various Xacobean routes we can hear two greetings. The most common is undoubtedly “Buen Camino» (Good Way), which is a wish for other pilgrims to live a good journey. Foreigners also learn this greeting very quickly. The other, less known, is Ultreia et Suseia. 

First of all, it must be kept in mind that on the Way there is a strong sense of unity and solidarity among the pilgrims. It is important to know that we can communicate a universal message that overcomes language barriers. This allows the pilgrims to strengthen the spirit of brotherhood that they breathe on the journey and to feel part of a community.

This message, less common today, Ultreia or Ultreya, is of Latin origin and is a word composed of ultra – beyond and eia – interaction used to indicate movement. These words represent a true message of encouragement and they want to mean to move forward, an incitement to continue to the end. Literally the translation would be: “Go further, hurry up, move on,” but we can translate it as: “Go on, walk until the end of the way, you can do it!

Sometimes you can find the Latin phrase “Ultreia et Suseia“. This was a kind of basic conversation between pilgrims who crossed paths in the past. When one greeted with “Ultreia”, the other answered “et Suseia”. This second Latin word means “higher, up”. Some people believe that this greeting would indicate that the pilgrims expected to meet again later, beyond, at the end of their journey, that is, at the door of the Cathedral of Santiago. However, if that was not possible, the wish was to catch up again, higher up, in other words, in heaven. There are hypotheses that say that among the medieval pilgrims this word was used with the same meaning as “Hallelujah” on their arrival at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Regarding the origin of these terms, they are already mentioned in the Codex Calixtinus (the first guide to the Camino de Santiago dating back to the 12th century) and can be found in the lyrics of a song, called Ultreia, in honor of the pilgrims on their way to Santiago. Similarly, they can be found in chapter XXVI of the Book of Liturgies.

Now that you know the meaning of this greeting among the pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago, you can finally wish those you’ll meet to go forward, beyond, until the end of their journey, where you can meet each other again: Ultreia et Suseia!

An article by galiwonders.
And remember, whatever path you may choose  in the Camino, you can always rely on  HOSTAL GAU TXORI: comfortable accommodation, nice and traditional food and wonderful natural landscapes as you pass by Zubiri.

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