The Miracle of the Rooster and the Hen

30 Jan, 2023

Sunday, 29th of January:

What has the Way of St. James and a legend about a rooster and a hen in common? Obviously nothing, right? But if we have a closer look at the legend „the Miracle of the Rooster and the Hen„, it´s easy to understand the common ground:

a German family, formed by two parents and their eighteen-year-old son, were making the pilgrimage to Santiago. They passed Santo Domingo, were a native maid fell in love with the pretty, but also religious boy, who, in his piety, rejected her. The girl´s passion turned into anger and vindictiveness, so she palmed a silver cup off on his bag and accused him of theft. The innocent denied stealing, nevertheless he was hung. His parents, although they were mourning for their son, continued their pilgrimage to Santiago.

On their way back they stopped again in Santo Domingo to visit their son´s body. But when they reached the village, they were surprised by seeing their still hanging son being alive. He spoke to them and told them that Santo Domingo himself had appeared and kept him alive. The parents hurried to the judge´s home and demanded him to release their son.

The disbelieving judge jeered at them and joked: „That boy is as alive as these chickens on my plate!“ But suddenly the roasted hen and rooster on his plate recovered their feathers and beaks, crowed and flew out the window.

I hope, now you have understood the connection between the Way of St. James and the legend. But you still ask yourself: Why is she telling me all this?

On the one hand, because everybody in La Rioja knows this legend. But on the other hand, because we have been to the place where this miracle (so it is being told) happend: in Santo Domingo!



This is the church „Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada„. But it is not any church: in this church, Saint Domingo García´s tomb can be found. And guess what adorns his coffin: a hen and a rooster! But this is not the only symbol suggesting the legend …

The Miracle of the Rooster and the Hen

Chicken cage

Another special thing about this church is a cage with two living chicken, a hen and a rooster. In ancient times, tired pilgrims got a feather of the hens, as a sign that they have passed by. What they left were notches in the stone, made with their sticks. Today every two weeks the two chicken are replaced by others.

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