Are you thinking of doing the Way of St. James in the Holy Year 2021 but you can’t make up your mind?
Do you think it will be much more expensive? Are you afraid of running out of hotels with all the people who want to go on this trip?
Let’s find out together why doing the Way of Saint James during the Xacobeo 2021 is a good decision!
The 20 reasons to walk the Way in 2021
Choosing when to do the Camino de Santiago is an important decision. Some opt for the summer because there are more pilgrims with whom to share this experience. Others, on the other hand, prefer to do the Way in winter to enjoy the landscapes in solitude and spend more time with themselves. There are people who make this decision at any moment. However, for others this decision takes months and months of preparation. Usually, the year chosen is not so important.Nonetheless, there is one exception. Some years are in fact very special: the Holy Years.
If, in addition, we add the fact that the next Holy Year will come just after the year in which the whole world was hit by the pandemic caused by COVID19 , the reasons for choosing to make the journey increase. Let’s see in detail what are the twenty reasons why the team of Galiwonders, advises you to do the Way of St. James in 2021.
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1-. Because the Holy Year is very special and you can experience something unique
The Holy Year is celebrated when the 25th of July, feast of St. James the Apostle, falls on a Sunday. This does not happen regularly, but occurs over time with a regularity of 6-5-6-11 years.
Perhaps you are wondering why the frequency of Holy Years is not regular? The reason is due to leap years. Every four years, an extra day is added in February to compensate for the fact that every year there is a quarter of day not counted in our calendar. In this way, the Holy Years are not regular over time. If there were no Leap Years, there would be one Jacobin Year every seven years. Just think that every century, this happens only 14 times.
2. In the Holy Year 2021, there will be an even more special atmosphere
The next Holy Year will be next year, in 2021, which will also be the 120th in history. The previous Holy Years of this century were in 2004 and 2010. In both there were thousands of pilgrims who wanted to know the city of Santiago de Compostela. And, of course, visit the impressive Cathedral of Santiago. The increase compared to previous years is easily measurable. In 2010, for example, 272,135 pilgrims requested their Compostela, compared to 145,877 in 2009. This means an increase of over 100,000 people from one holy year to the next.
Unfortunately, with the problems caused by the coronavirus, it is difficult to predict the actual number of pilgrims, but what is certain is that the atmosphere will be even warmer and more special given the situation.
3-. An opportunity to live an introspective experience after the Covid-19 pandemic
This year, 2020, was marked by one of the most dramatic situations we have faced in recent decades. The pandemic that has hit, and continues to hit, the whole world so hard has shocked us, probably forever.Now more than ever we need time to understand what has happened and is still happening today .Doing the Way of Santiago will not eliminate the pain we suffered, but it will at least allow us to dwell on our feelings, trying to understand them and not be overwhelmed by them.
4. The Way as a safe travel alternative
Although it is not possible to guarantee that no one will be infected with coronavirus along one of the paths of the camino to Santiago, we can say that given the nature of this experience, it can be considered one of the safest travel alternatives.
Spending most of the day outdoor, at a adeguate distance from other pilgrims and having a relatively low number of cases in this area, we can consider Galicia, a safe destination.We obviously hope that a vaccine will be found before next year and that the risk of transmission will be reduced more and more. We also want to ensure you that Galiwonders only cooperates with those hotels that follow the prevention and safety measures imposed by the Spanish Ministry of Health.
5-. Living valuable time with those we love the most
This trip allows us to spend valuable time with the people who are fundamental to us. Whether it is family, friends, our dog, or even just traveling in the company of ourselves, living the camino will allow us to deepen that special relationship in which it is essential to invest quality time. The time we have spent locked up at home, perhaps thousands of kilometres away from those people who count most in our lives, has allowed us to realize something important! We cannot take anything for granted and the possibility of being present, physically, and share special moments, is an asset of incalculable value.
Let’s give ourselves more time in the company of those persons who are so important to us and give the right meaning to these experiences that we often take for granted!
6. We can open ourselves up to others and share our journey
People who know each other along one of the routes to Santiago are most likely related for one reason or another. Even if driven by univocal personal reasons, they are on the same path, in the same conditions (climate, distance, fatigue, terrain) and therefore share the same basic experience. This ease of contact between pilgrims, often from different countries, is an almost magical element that allows us to circumvent those barriers that we often impose on ourselves when live new relationships.
We are more inclined to open ourselves to “the other” and to talk about ourselves, the reason for our journey and the will that lies at the base of this decision. During a Holy Year, this possibility of encounter is multiplied and therefore we have more and more opportunities to know something new.
7-. The opening of the Holy Door
The opening of the Holy Door is a very important event. It opens on December 31st of the year before the Jacobin Year and closes one year later. The ceremony involves the Archbishop of Santiago using a silver hammer to strike three times the outer wall that normally blocks the access to the Cathedral. This act represents the difficulty of the Way.
During this period, it remains open so that all pilgrims, tourists and residents of the city can access the Cathedral of Santiago through it. The access to the Holy Door is in Quintana’s Square and communicates almost directly with the main altar. The remains of the Apostle Santiago and his two disciples Athanasius and Theodore are in a small mausoleum just below this altar. Moreover, this is where the Pilgrim’s Mass takes place every day at noon.
Pilgrim’s Mass is celebrated more frequently this year, as well as the use of the famous Botafumiere in such celebrations.
8-. The Holy Years, important for the faithful
We must not forget the very high religious and spiritual value of the Way of St. James. This pilgrimage is, in fact, one of the most important official routes in the world.Christians from all over the world gather every year to walk one of the roads leading to Santiago to show their respect, do penance for their sins, live a moment of spiritual introspection or to share this moment with other faithfuls.
Being able to undertake this journey during a Holy Year undoubtedly increases its value. This year’s celebration grants a full indulgence to all the faithful who voluntarily conform to these three requirements:
Visit the Cathedral of Santiago
Pray a prayer (the Creed or the Lord’s Prayer) and ask for the Pope’s blessing.In addition, if possible, it is recommended to attend Holy Mass.
Receive the sacraments of penance and communion in the two weeks before or after your visit to the Cathedral.
9-.Arrival at the hotel, a moment to recover your energy
Precisely because of the large number of pilgrims during the Holy Years, it is best to make sure you have accommodation to stay overnight. If you book now, you will be guaranteed a place to stay during your trip. This is essential, because after walking the 15-30 kilometers/day, what you will need most is a hotel where you can rest.
Remember that public hostels do not allow reservations. For this reason, if you choose this option, it is important that you try to arrive with enough time to take one of the available beds. Many pilgrims try to avoid accommodation where they have to share a room, while others prefer to live it in the classic way. Galiwonders offers you the possibility to book in unique hotels, with dinner and breakfast included, always in private room with private bathroom.
10-. A tailor-made trip with Galiwonders
After a long day, this is a good option to relax and enjoy your free time without worries. If you book now, you can also choose the type of accommodation you prefer.You still have time to adapt your itinerary to your needs and tell us what you want your stay to be like. At Galiwonders, we create your custom made camino, included the transfer of your backpack between stages and the possibility to change your route as you wish.
11. The Way is full of cultural activities
The Holy Years are indicated in the calendar of many institutions related to the Way of St. James. The Holy Year 2021 is the first in eleven years, so the preparation is meticulous. It is expected that the cities and towns through which the paths will pass will have a wide cultural offer.
Thus, the places through which the Way passes will host various musical and street performances or special events in the main monuments. This will allow a better understanding of the cultural diversity that this experience represents and will make the route more enjoyable for the thousands of pilgrims who are expected. The Xunta de Galicia will inform about the activities through its website, in the Agenda of events. All pilgrims interested in enjoying the time between one stage and the next, can consult the options online or at the information offices.
12. The offer in Santiago de Compostela is unique
The most common destination among those who start the Route of Santiago de Compostela and follow one of its routes is Santiago de Compostela, although more and more people are encouraged to continue towards Finisterra or Muxía. Precisely because the city of Compostela is the place where every pilgrim must pass at some point, the cultural offer in this city is higher than anywhere else on the camino. For this reason, if you are planning to arrive in Santiago in the Holy Year 2021, we recommend that you stay in the city for a couple of days. This will allow you to get to know its historic centre better. With no rush, you will be able to discover every corner and learn its history.
In addition, you will be able to participate in the activities that will take place there in this special occasion.
13-. Don’t wait, the next Holy Year will be in 2027.
The next Holy Year is in 2021, the first after eleven years (the previous one was in fact in 2010) and there will be no more until 2027.
14-. The Holy Years are occasions of great social interest
The increase in the number of pilgrims during the Holy Years is the perfect opportunity to socialize to the maximum. There are thousands of people who walk the paths to Santiago de Compostela, especially in the most popular months between April and October. For this reason, choosing 2021 as the date to go to Santiago on foot or by bicycle is a good idea, if you want to meet people from all over the world. In general, the nationalities most present on the routes are Spanish, Italian, German and American. However, year after year, this experience is growing more and more and continues to attract people from other places. In 2019, for example, there were people from Yemen, Martinique or Papua New Guinea, among other countries.
15. You will get to know a wonderful territory
If you choose to walk one of the routes that have the minimum distance required to obtain the Compostela certificate (100 km) or if you decide to take a longer route, ending in Santiago de Compostela, you will have the opportunity to get to know Galicia. This region of north-west of Spain, often little known, hides some of the most spectacular landscapes of the entire Iberian Peninsula and why not?…of all the world!
Not only, will you discover the cultural richness of places with a unique tradition and history, but you’ll finally feel free to explore dream landscapes. The sea, the mountains, the rivers, the hills, the fields and the oak and eucalyptus forests. Immerse yourself in the most authentic nature and feel part of it!
16. Explore in depth one of the best wine and food offers in the world
Did you know that Galicia is home to some of the most prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants in the world? Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know an auteur cuisine based on a re-elaboration of typical dishes, with a strong continuity with tradition. Even if you don’t book in starred restaurants, you’ll be able to taste the excellent products from the sea, the ría, the local farms and the Galician fields.
The culinary tradition of this land is very varied. You can taste the octopus, cooked in different ways (all delicious!), seafood, pork or beef, empanada, cod, and much more! Don’t forget the various tapas that you can not miss. As for the wines of this region, we remind you that in Galicia there are 5 Denominations of Origin: Ribeira Sacra, O Ribero, Rías Baíxas, Monterrei and Valdeorras. A great variety of products to guarantee you a quality food and wine tourism experience.
17. Santiago de Compostela is more alive than ever
The city of Santiago de Compostela has less than 100,000 inhabitants. From September to June, about 17,000 students (registration data of the University of Santiago de Compostela in 2019) occupy the city. The atmosphere changes completely in summer, when university students return home and it is the pilgrims who fill the streets and terraces. Precisely because the Holy Years are the busiest, you can breathe the atmosphere of the Way more than ever.
18. If you book now, we can guarantee you the same price as in 2020.
Obviously, prices during the Holy Year tend to increase due to the great demand that the facilities and services for pilgrims will have to cope with. In Galiwonders, however, we are committed to maintain the prices of 2020 if you book now. Enjoy a unique experience at an unbeatable price! Contact us to find out about your tailor-made itinerary and do not miss this unique opportunity to live the experience of a lifetime.
19. Live the journey with all the “Cariño” of the local people
Hit very hard by the coronavirus, the professionals working along the way will offer you even more “cariño” and attention during your experience in 2021. For the local people, the path is part of their culture, as well as the main source of the local economy. Having had to face the sharp drop in the number of pilgrims in this 2020, many are already preparing things for the next Jacobean Year, in which the pilgrim will play an even more central role. Come closer to the Galician culture and get to know the typical welcome of this people.
Surely you will love it!
20. The Spanish government is working to improve the path
An investment of 92 million of euro is planned between 2020 and 2024, in order to complete a series of projects linked to the Way of Santiago. This money is expected to improve the offer in culture, tourism, infrastructure and to ensure safety along the way. We, also, remind you that the government delegate, Javier Losada, has requested the extension of the deadline for the Jacobean Year to the year 2022 following the covid health emergency. Despite this, the final decision depends on the Vatican, if this request is also presented by the Archbishop of Santiago. A circumstance that already occurred in 1937, when it was extended until 1938 following the Spanish Civil War.
If you want to live the Way to Santiago during a Holy Year, the best thing to do, is to book immediately for 2021. In this way, you will be able to experience some of its routes in the most special year. And if you discover that this is an ideal time to do the Way to Santiago, you can start planning your trips for the next Holy Years. If after reading our motivations for booking the Way to Santiago for the next Holy Year 2021 you would like to book your adventure, please do not hesitate to contact us.
If you are still not sure, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you decide. Galiwonders will organize your tailor-made trip.