Typical gifts from Galicia and the Way of St. James

It is a fact that when Christmas comes we all look for some gift or detail for our family and friends. Then comes the New Year and we set ourselves more or less a series of resolutions and challenges that are not always fulfilled.

For all those people whose individual goal is to walk the Camino de Santiago, PambreTours continues to work and improve its services, in order to offer new ways of walking adapted to the experiences that each particular pilgrim is looking for. As a novelty, and to close this 2014 full of good wishes, this month we have included in our tours the “Free” modality. It is focused on those pilgrims who wish to do the Camino on their own and without a guide, but with the comfort of the best accommodations (in hotels, pazos or rural houses), backpack transfer, and with the peace of mind of having assistance in case of emergency and accident insurance.

But back to the topic that gives title to this article, today we will talk in the blog about the most typical gifts of Galicia and the Camino de Santiago with which we can give to our loved ones at the return of our tour. And why not, also for ourselves! Have you thought about taking a nice souvenir of your passage through the capital of Santiago de Compostela? Here are some ideas.

1) Pilgrim’s shell

It is the most emblematic symbol of the Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago de Compostela. In addition to the typical scallop shell that is part of the pilgrim’s clothing, we can also find in many craft stores in the capital designs in sterling silver, ceramic or enameled, really original.

Looking for a gift for a smoker friend? Then an ashtray in the shape of a pilgrim’s shell may be a good idea.


2) Botafumeiro in miniature

The image of the legendary incense burner is linked to the memory of the Cathedral of Santiago. If you find it hard to describe what it was like on your return from your trip, you can always get a miniature in the form of a keychain or pendant, a small detail that will surely be appreciated!


3) Jet jewelry

Since the beginning of its foundation, goldsmithing has been one of the most traditional trades in the capital of Compostela. In fact, the Plaza de la Inmaculada or Plaza de la Azabachería owes its name to the guild of the azabacheros, one of the most numerous in the city.

The genuine gold work of Santiago de Compostela differs from its imitations in that it is completely handmade so that each piece is a unique work of art.

Medieval superstitions attributed magical qualities to jet, among which was its power to protect against evil energies. But even if we are not superstitious, most of us can appreciate the unique beauty of these handcrafted jewels.

In the heart of the historic center of Santiago we will find all kinds of silver and jet jewelry: pendants, rings, earrings, carefully ornamented.


4) Sargadelos ceramics

With more than two centuries of history, Sargadelos ceramics are inextricably linked to the cultural identity of Galicia.

Created in the early 19th century by Antonio Raimundo Ibáñez, Marquis of Sargadelos, they are the best example of Galician handmade ceramics. Each piece is hand-painted after firing the Galician kaolin at more than 1000 degrees centigrade.

White combined with blue, red, yellow or brown are the characteristic colors of Sargadelos. The motifs represented from an abstract perspective are always associated with Galicia: historical figures, symbols of Celtic culture, details of rural life, famous places… etc.


5) Wines, liqueurs and preserves

Without fear of making a mistake, lovers of good wines will enjoy the famous and sought-after Galician varieties. Godello, Ribeiro or Albarillo are some of the most world-renowned wines of the region.

And what about the delicious coffee liqueur? Made with brandy, coffee and sugar, its exquisite flavor brings us the soul of the holidays and Christmas celebrations.


In the Canton of Santiago de Compostela or in the Abastos market we can also find a great variety of typical canned food (seafood, fish or canned turnip greens) that we can buy as a gift for our palates (or those of our friends) during our visit to Galicia.

6) Figure of the bagpiper

The Galician bagpipe is par excellence the symbol of traditional Galician music. However, giving a bagpipe as a gift may not be a good idea given its high price and considering that it is a difficult musical instrument to master. However, we can always get a nice little bagpipe doll. It will not be difficult to find in a souvenir store and can become a nice souvenir of our tour.


7) “Meiguiñas”

A popular expression says that “Galicia é terra meiga”. This is due to the large number of fables and legends that exist about fantastic beings, partly because of the characteristics of its geography but also because of a magical past linked to Celtic culture and telluric religions.

In appearance the “meigas” are represented as traditional witches, but there is a difference: in general in popular culture the witch is always bad, while the meigas can be good (healers or seers to whom people go for help).

This wonderful character is so deeply rooted in our tradition that many popular sayings, rituals, customs… make reference to them. One of our most recognized liquor brands “Meigas fóra” illustrates its drinks with the drawing of a “meiguiña” (reminiscent of the queimada ritual).

The meigas figures are quite funny and caricatured. They can be easily found in fairs and craft stores.


8) For the little ones

There are also board games inspired by the Camino de Santiago. One example is “Peregrinus” created by Guido Leboroni, an Italian toymaker based in Lugo.

“Peregrinus” is based on many legends of Galicia such as the Santa Compaña, the meigas or the werewolves.

It is recommended for ages six and up and is available in toy and specialty stores throughout Spain.


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