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The Queimada is a flaming display in the preparation of an after dinner liquor.

From my personal experience, I think that first you need some attractive female pilgrims. Brierley refers to “a mystical Queimada” in describing the Albergue Ave Fenix in Villafranca del Bierzo. Part of the mystery is when it will occur. Twice at the Ave Fenix, it has not occurred for me. It did occur, however, in Santibanez on a Saturday night when the group of eight pilgrims at dinner in the albergue included four attractive women.

Women have “lothario” radar, and I could sense that they knew the Queimada ceremony was the initiation of a seduction sequence by the host, Hercules, and his three local friends, in a scenario that had played out without a Queimada in several bars, restaurants, and albergues for the women during the pilgrimage. None had seen the Queimada before, so they were willing to play the early stages of the game out of curiosity. (I learned or confirmed all of this walking the trail later with the women.)

The beverage begins with an earthenware ceramic bowl and citrus. A lemon and two oranges were juiced, then some of the rind shaved into the bowl. About a cup of sugar and a spoon of coffee were added and stirred with a ladle. Two liters of arujo came next, the primary ingredient. The mixture was stirred, then set on fire.

The fire did not take easily. At room temperature the arujo did not want to sustain a flame from a cigarette lighter, so Hercules’ assistant took the bowl into the kitchen, warmed the contents to make the alcohol more volatile, and returned to the dining table with an already flaming bowl. The lights were extinguished, and Hercules ladled the arujo high into the air and repeatedly created a flaming cascade from ladle to bowl. As the liquid splashed into the bowl, drops formed flaming spots on the table and nearby pilgrims, who scrambled to extinguish all the little fires before they made holes in nylon clothing.

As the alcohol was consumed and the flames diminished, Hercules offered the lightly flaming ladle to pilgrims (with special attention to the women) to dip in a finger and lick a sample of the brew from one’s now-flaming digits. The taste was citrus, sweet, and caramelized sugar.

When the flame was gone, the lights were turned on, and the Queimada beverage was ladled into small earthenware cups for each pilgrim. The alcohol content was rather small by now, so the intoxicating effect on the women was minor. The hosts had been drinking all afternoon and evening, so they were feeling the spirits, but the pilgrims were very tourist-like and sober. So Hercules repeated the event with another two liters of arujo, still without the hoped for seduction results. Pilgrims trundled off to their bunks, and the party continued with Hercules and his posse.

All motive analysis aside, the Queimada is an expensive event. Maybe not as expensive as having eight priests swing the Botafumeiro (240 Euro at last quote), but several liters of arujo can add up over the year. I kicked in a donation to the albergue the next morning, but I think Hercules put on the display out of the goodness of his heart and a love for the Pilgrim camaraderie the Queimada creates. No hospitalero is making money enough to support regular free Queimadas. If you want to see one, bring the arujo, sugar, and fruit, and ask the albergue to brew it up! I am betting that you will be well received by hospitalero and pilgrim alike.

You can get a Queimada set of bowl, ladle, and cups at any hardware store along the way (or, and mail home the makings of your own Queimada. You may have to be a bit creative; Brandy, cognac, vodka, etc. will all flame as well as the arujo, if it is not available.


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2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
WIKI: Queimada has origins in the Pagan festivals of Galicia. It is a punch made from Galician aguardiente (Orujo Gallego) - a spirit distilled from wine and flavoured with herbs or coffee, plus sugar, lemon peel, coffee beans and cinnamon.
Traditionally while preparing the punch a spell or incantation is recited, so that special powers are conferred to the queimada and those drinking it. Then the queimada is set alight, and slowly burns as more brandy is added.
Mention of queimada is found in Celtic, Roman, Visigothic, and Arabic literature. There is also evidence of the queimada tradition in the eleventh or twelfth century, around the time of the construction of Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Here is the English version of the Galician incantation (which you can find on the Wiki page -

Owls, white-owls, toads and witches.
Demons, goblins and devils,
spirits of the misty vales.
Crows, salamanders and mages,
charms of the medics.
Rotten pierced canes,
home of worms and vermins.
Wisps of the Holy Company,
evil eye, black witchcraft,
scent of the dead, thunders and lightnings.
Howl of the dog, omen the death,
maws of the satyr and foot of the rabbit.
Sinful tongue of the bad woman
married to an old man.
Satan and Beelzebub's Inferno,
fire of the burning corpses,
mutilated bodies of the indecent ones,
farts of the arses of doom,
bellow of the enraged sea.
Useless belly of the unmarried woman,
speech 0f the cats in heat,
dirty turf of the wicked born goat.
With this bellows I will pump
the flames of this fire
which looks like from Hell,
and witches will flee,
straddling their brooms,
going to bathe in the beach
of the thick sands.
Hear! Hear the roars
of those that cannot
stop burning in the firewater,
getting so that purified.
And when this beverage
goes down our throats,
we will get free of the evil
of our soul and of any charm.
Forces of air, earth, sea and fire,
to you I make this call:
if it's truth that you have more power
than human people,
here and now, make the spirits
of the friends who are outside,
take part with us in this Queimada.

Javier Martin

Veteran Member
From my personal experience, I think that first you need some attractive female pilgrims... (Falcon)

Absolutely agree!!

Well, I would like to share a "conxuro" that someone send me some months ago. In gallego and spanish:

Mouchos, coruxas, sapos e bruxas. demos, trasnos e dianhos, espritos das nevoadas veigas
Corvos, pintigas e meigas, feitizos das mencinheiras
Pobres canhotas furadas, fogar dos vermes e alimanhas
Lume das Santas Companhas, mal de ollo, negros meigallos, cheiro dos mortos, tronos e raios.
Oubeo do can, pregon da morte, foucinho do satiro e pe do coello
Pecadora lingua da mala muller casada cun home vello
Averno de Satan e Belcebu, lume dos cadavres ardentes, corpos mutilados dos indecentes, peidos dos infernales cus, muxido da mar embravescida
Barriga inutil da muller solteira, falar dos gatos que andan a xaneira, guedella porra da cabra mal parida
Con este fol levantarei as chamas deste lume que asemella ao do inferno, e fuxiran as bruxas acabalo das sas escobas, indose bañar na praia das areas gordas
Oide, oide! os ruxidos que dan as que non poden deixar de queimarse no agoardente, quedando asi purificadas
cando este brebaxe baixe polas nosas gorxas, quedaremos libres dos males da nosa ialma e de todo embruxamento
Forzas do ar, terra, mar e lume, a vos fago esta chamada: si e verdade que tendes mais poder que a humana xente, eiqui e agora, facede cos espritos dos amigos que estan fora, participen con nos desta queimada.

Buhos, lechuzas, sapos y brujas. Demonios maléficos y diablos, espíritus de las nevadas vegas. Cuervos, salamandras y meigas, hechizos de las curanderas. Podridas cañas agujereadas, hogar de gusanos y de alimañas. Fuego de las almas en pena, mal de ...
Podridas cañas agujereadas, hogar de gusanos y de alimañas. Fuego de las almas en pena, mal de ojo, negros hechizos, olor de los muertos, truenos y rayos.
Ladrido del perro, anuncio de la muerte; hocico del sátiro y pie del conejo.
Pecadora lengua de la mala mujer casada con un hombre viejo
Infierno de Satán y Belcebú, fuego de los cadáveres en llamas, cuerpos mutilados de los indecentes, pedos de los infernales culos, mugido de la mar embravecida.
Vientre inútil de la mujer soltera, maullar de los gatos en celo, pelo malo y sucio d...
Con este cazo levantaré las llamas de este fuego que se asemeja al del infierno, y huirán las brujas a caballo de sus escobas, yéndose a bañar a la playa de las arenas gordas.
¡Oíd, oíd! los rugidos que dan las que no pueden dejar de quemarse en el aguardiente quedando así purificadas. Y cuando este brebaje baje por nuestras gargantas, quedaremos libres de los males de nuestra alma y de todo embrujamiento
Fuerzas del aire, tierra, mar y fuego, a vosotros hago esta llamada: si es verdad que tenéis más poder que la humana gente, aquí y ahora, haced que los espíritus de los amigos que están fuera, participen con nosotros de esta queimada.

Buen Camino, with a good Queimada if possible!!

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.


Active Member
Past OR future Camino
This brings back memories of the wonderful Queimada we had in Villar de Mazarife in March. The wonderful hospitaleros at the albergue (I can't remember the name but the private albergue--the first one on the right just as you enter town righ on the main road) prepared this for us one chilly evening. It was really nice as there was just a small group of us--maybe about 7. It was the first I had heard of it and it was a great evening.


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Deleted member 3000

One way to experience a queimada is to ask! Private albergues may be your best best.

Volunteer up front to pay. Two liters of orujo will be about 14 Euro -- get the cheap stuff if you can, since you will be setting it on fire. The albergue probably can supply the orange, sugar, and coffee. Get other pilgrims to toss in a donation.

Places known the hold them are Santibańez de Valdeiglesias, and Refugio Ave Fénix de Familia Jato in Villafranca del Bierzo, and Villar de Mazarife. There must be many more.

It is not quite the swinging of the botafumeiro, but it is a close second.
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In the municipal albergue last night in Pedrouzo, a husband and wife team did one. She did the encanto that Javier just wrote and the man played the gaita. Then people clapped and danced and got all silly. There were many people and all had a great time. My first time seeing one, and I also did not see one done in the 3 days I spent at Ave Fenix 2 years ago.
The camio del Norte is awesome (she says this now after cursing it here and there for the last 40 days!)


Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
MermaidLilli said:
The camio del Norte is awesome (she says this now after cursing it here and there for the last 40 days!)LOVE
I love this quote coming from you Lillian.... just like birth really ;-) Congrats.... and we look forward to seeing more photos when you get around to it.

Bridget and Peter

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Past OR future Camino
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
KiwiNomad06 said:
MermaidLilli wrote:I AM IN SANTIAGO!!!
The camio del Norte is awesome (she says this now after cursing it here and there for the last 40 days!)LOVE

I love this quote coming from you Lillian.... just like birth really

Except NOT 40 days!!!

Yes, we're looking forward to more about your journey on the Norte, Lillian, too.


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Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
MermaidLilli said:
The camio del Norte is awesome (she says this now after cursing it here and there for the last 40 days!)

Just read this and very glad to hear that you made it safely! Yes, we feel like cursing sometimes on the journey but the arrival wipes out everything else. Look forward to seeing pictures of the stretches I didn't do!



Active Member
Thank you all. Right now I am doing a little touring in Spain (was just in Ibiza at the invite of a German peregrina.... Ibiza is another story!!) and will be home July 9th. Then I will post my pics. So many great stories to tell as well.
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September and October pilgrims should try to experience a queimada. Ask at the private albergues; offer to pay for the ingredients (mostly orujo/arujo). It is a show worth seeing.

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