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Fiesta of the Apostle Santiago

  • Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 04 April, 2024

The official feast day of Saint James is 25th July, but the celebratory party in Santiago de Compostela starts ten days earlier, with exhibitions, concerts of traditional Gallego music (with plenty of bagpipes – it’s very Celtic) and theatrical performances in the main squares.

There are several main events worth timing it for. The Fuegos del Apostol, on the night of the 24th of July, is a spectacular firework and multimedia show that takes place in Praza del Obradoiro. On the 25th of July, Saint James’ Day, a Mass held in the famous Cathedral culminates with the swinging of the enormous incense burner, the botafumeiro. It takes eight men to pull the ropes, sending it almost to the cathedral ceiling as it swoops down the nave.

There’s also a suitably large and impressive fireworks show on 31st July, marking the fiesta’s end.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 13+
Frequency: annually
When: 24th & 25th July
Duration: 2 days

Getting there & doing it

Book a room well in advance, especially during Holy ‘Xabobean Years’ (when 25 July falls on Sunday, as in 2022) and when the celebrations are extra special. The most important days are 24th and 25 July.