The Camino de Santiago and the Origin of the Game of the Goose
Many of us have played this famous game when we were little, but few of us know how it came to be. What is its history? The origin of the Game of the Goose is related to the Camino de Santiago, and we will tell you how.
Some hypothesize that the creation of the Game of the Goose originates from the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar), who protected pilgrims as they made their way to holy cities like Santiago, Rome, or Jerusalem. It’s a game of the Camino Francés (The French Way) from Somport, which is beautifully represented on game boards that show famousstops along the road. And if you’re wondering which ones these might be, we’ve compiled a list of examples.
There are other symbolic squares on the board as well, like TheInn, which represents the hostels; and TheWells, which represent the inevitable baddays that occur along the pilgrimage. Others, like The Labyrinth, represent the possible physical losses.TheDice, which every player uses, represent the element of chance on the road and the possible delays and advances that you can make.
The game itself was originally used as an informant. Since most of the population was illiterate at that time, they needed a map with pictures to guide them along the route. Thegoose was chosen because it is a migratoryanimal, which flies from easttowest, eventually reaching Finisterre. It was a clear representation of wisdom, and it is ever present in the daily lives of the inhabitants of the Camino, who serve as guardians of the road.
This animal also appears in the names of stops along the Camino de Santiago, like Castrojériz (city of geese), Villafranca Montes de Oca, El Ganso, Ocón, Puerto de Oca, Manjarín (man of geese), and the Río Arga.
The origin of the Game of the Goose is not the only unclear aspect of this game. The number9 also plays a big part.
Between every goose square, there are 4 or 5 squares (5+4=9)
The final square (the “Gran Oca” or “Great Goose”), is on the 63rd square (6+3=9)
There was a total of 9 founders or the Orden del Temple
In a deck of tarot cards, the 9thcard is that of the Pilgrim, which, with the help of a cane, advances in darkness to find wisdom
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