One of the words most frequently associated with the Camino, to the point of finding it in all kinds of contexts during the journey, is “Ultreia!” What does it mean and where does it come from?
“Ultreia” is a latin word, and it literally means “beyond”. It originally appeared in the “Codex calixtinus”, the well known medieval manuscript that constitutes an invaluable document about pilgrimage during the Middle Ages, to the point of being called by some the first “travel guide” for the Camino. In one of the appendices of this manuscript, devoted to religious hymns, we can find this line:
“E ultreia, e suseia,
Deus adiuva nos”
(Go beyond, go higher, protect us God).
“Suseia”, in turn, means “go higher”. The legend says that, in old times, when pilgrims found each other, they exchanged these words as salutation: “¡Ultreia!” “¡Et susaeia!”