Xacobeo or Holy Year
It is Xacobeo 2021, or the next official Holy Year in Spain and on the Camino de Santiago.
The Pope has decreed the extension of the Holy Year 2021 throughout the year 2022 due to the exceptional circumstance of the covid-19 pandemic.
What is Xacobeo?
Xacobeo is the event when the Feast Day of St James, the 25th of July, falls on a Sunday. The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela declares a Holy Year. Holy Years are rare and happen in a cycle of every 6, 5, 6, and 11 years. The most recent Holy Years for St James were 1982, 1993, 1999, 2004 and 2010. We have finally arrived to Holy Year in 2021!
The next Holy Years after will be 2027, 2032, and 2038.
Feast Day of Saint James
The Feast Day of Saint James is the celebration of the patron Saint of Spain – St. James, who is the reason why the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela began.
The Catholic Church assigns a special date to every canonized saint to celebrate their life’s work. In the case of Saint James, the holiday falls on the 25th of July and is celebrated nationwide.
The Feast Day in Santiago de Compostela is recognized with a full-blown liturgical feast. The Cathedral throws an impressive laser and firework show that most often tells the story of the Cathedral, Saint James, the Way and highlights main events of that given year. Following this show, is a week-long festival with street parties, arts and craft displays, kid’s events, cultural shows and much, much more!
The Holy Door
Xacobeo is a very special time to be in Santiago de Compostela as the Holy Door, or the Porta Santa, is opened to members of the public. Since the 12th Century, pilgrims who visit the Cathedral on the Holy Year are granted a plenary indulgence. In order to earn your plenary indulgence once you arrive to the Cathedral, one must do the following:
- visit the Tomb of the Apostle in the Cathedral
- receive the sacrament of Confession *within 15 days, at any location
- receive Communion
On a normal year, the Holy Door remains closed. However, there was an exception when it was opened in 2016. (Prior to this, the door was last opened on the last Xacobeo in 2010.) Pope Francis surprised the world when he announced the Jubilee de Miscericordia, or Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. The focus of this Jubilee of Mercy was to provide a period of forgiveness and mercy for all. Thus, in 2016, although not a Holy Year, the Holy Door was opened.
Camino de Santiago 2021/2022
As you can imagine, Xacobeo in Santiago de Compostela is going to be one of the most extraordinary and enjoyable events. The Camino is likely to be a little busier than other years, but we love meeting all the diverse people from around the world.
If you want to join in on the celebrations, join us on our Special Feast Day Last 100km Camino Tour . We run this tour every year as the Feast Day of Saint James falls on every 25th July. However, next year the Feast Day Tour will pair with Xacobeo and of course, hopefully the re-opening of travel and tourism around the world. We predict the celebrations for the Holy Year will reach new heights!
Special Feast Day Last 100km “Xacobeo” Tour
On our Special Feast Day Last 100km “Xacobeo” Tour you will have the chance to be in Santiago de Compostela on the most important night of the year – for the fiesta of Saint James! You will also be part of one of the biggest Holy Year, as one has not taken place in 11 years.
Join us for fireworks, street parties and the most unforgettable atmosphere in the city. The Cathedral has a very special mass on the 25th and hopefully we will get to see the amazing giant silver Botafumeiro or incense burner swung across the Cathedral.
To top it off, we finish your Camino de Santiago with dinner in the famous Parador Hostal dos Reis Católicos; along with special seats to view the fireworks and celebration in the Plaza de Obradoiro!
If you don’t want to join us for the Special Feast Day Tour and would prefer less pilgrims when you enter Santiago de Compostela, we run many other fully-guided Camino de Santiago tours during the Holy Year in 2021. Or you could plan a self-guided Camino de Santiago tour. We can also help you chose a quieter time of the year during Xacobeo, or a less busy Camino path to take such as the Camino Portuguese, or the Camino del Norte.
We are really looking forward to enjoying the Xacobeo or Holy Year. Hopefully, even more pilgrims will be back on the trail and make their Way to Santiago de Compostela. Buen Camino!