2nd fortnight in July
The festivities dedicated to the Apostle, the patron saint of Santiago, of Galicia and of all of Spain, last for about a fortnight. This festival combines religious and official solemnity, tradition and entertainment, which turn the entire city into a large fiesta.
July 24th and 25th are the two main days. On the night of July 24th there is an impressive firework display in honour of the Apostle, which coincides with the burning of a large pyrotechnic castle imitating the Cathedral’s Gothic façade.
On July 25th, during the High Mass that is held in the Cathedral, the king or a representative of the Royal Household, makes the traditional offering to the Apostle James. During this mass, the “botafumeiro” (spectacular giant censer) can be seen swinging through the Cathedral, perfuming and enveloping it in a mystic halo. July 25th is also Galicia Day, with events bringing thousands of Galicians to the city.
This fortnight’s cultural activities stand out because of their quality and diversity. All kinds of music, dance and theatre, pasacagglias, open-air dances… fill Compostela. The traditional gathering of music bands from all over Galicia and exhibitions of regional costumes and folkloric dances are other attractions of this festival, which ends on July 31st with another fireworks display.
The year July 25th falls on a Sunday is considered a Compostela Holy Year. This takes place in cycles of 6, 5, 6 and 11 years. 1993, 1999, 2004 and 2010 were Holy Years, and the next one will be held in 2021. During such years, the number of pilgrims visiting the city from all over the world is even greater.
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