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Saint James’ Day in Santiago de Compostela – Celebrate with Galiwonders

Are you planning to visit Santiago de Compostela during these dates? Keep reading and you will know everything you can find in Galicia on this famous day!

July 25th: Saint James the Apostle’s Day

The 25th of July is celebrated the Apostle Santiago’s day in Galicia. It is a very special date for the city of Santiago de Compostela and the whole Community, and we did not want to miss the opportunity to celebrate this special day with you, our pilgrims. In addition to all the activities and celebrations that you can find during these days, we want to give you a very special discount so that this fall you can enjoy the Way with us, of course. From July 20th to July 27th, get a 10% discount to travel during this Autumn 2022*. Reservations made between July 20th and 27th 2022, to travel from September 21, 2022 to December 31, 2022. Not applicable to trips that take place during the months of July, August and September. Not combinable with other discounts. In addition, the 20 fastest pilgrims to book this week will get a free rain jacket.

Do not hesitate, celebrate with us this Xacobean Year 2021-2022 and make your Autumn a perfect time to discover all that the Way can offer you.

The day of the Apostle

The festivities of Saint James the Apostle are celebrated in the city of Santiago de Compostela from July 21 until the end of the month. During this time, you can find both religious events and cultural activities for all audiences. Galician tradition and music invade Santiago de Compostela, filling the streets with life and a very festive atmosphere.

When is Santiago Apostle celebrated and what happens on these dates?

July 25th is the most important date, as it is the day of St. James the Apostle (a public holiday in Galicia). In addition, on the night of July 24, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is illuminated with a fireworks display in honor of the Apostle. If you want to see them, the Plaza del Obradoiro is the best place, because you will be able to contemplate the lights and the sound resounding in the Cathedral. However, it is usually quite crowded, and there are other very interesting spots in the city where you can watch this unique night: La Alameda, Eugenio Granell Park, As Cancelas or Carlomagno Park are the perfect places not to miss this spectacle.

Can’t make it in time to see this nocturnal landscape of colored lights? Don’t worry, because on July 31 another fireworks display will mark the end of the festivities, this time at the Cidade da Cultura. And on this day you will be able to enjoy again this memorable event. In addition, if you visit Santiago de Compostela on these dates for religious reasons, on the morning of July 25th you can attend the mass in honor of the Apostle Santiago. This mass is the perfect occasion to see the botafumeiro in operation.

The botafumeiro (“bota“, from the verb to pour; and “fumeiro“, from the noun smoke) is one of the largest incense burners in the world. It is silver-plated and hangs from the ceiling of the Cathedral by a 65-meter rope. Its interior container is filled with 400 gr. of charcoal and incense, and it moves transversally through the Cathedral, thanks to the action of 8 people, the tiraboleiros. Although it was formerly used to perfume the temple and eliminate the odors of the pilgrims who arrived sweating, and many of them sick, today the botafumeiro has become a tradition that many people from around the world want to see when they visit Santiago de Compostela at this time of the year.

What activities can you find during the month of July?

On the day of Santiago Apostle and during its festivities, music will have a great protagonism. You can enjoy dance performances, music, workshops, outdoor cinema and much more. In addition, you can attend the Dron Festival Gaelic GP Series 2022 on July 23, a spectacle of light and color that promises to leave everyone who attends speechless. In addition, there will be performances of local groups all over the city and of all styles, especially in La Alameda, Cervantes Square, Toural or La Quintana Square.

How are the festivities of Santiago Apostle’s Day in 2022?

During the festivities of the Apostle St. James the music can not miss, so you will find sounds of different styles: traditional Galician music, rock, pop, etc.. The concerts of this year 2022 are scheduled in different squares of the city. You can check the styles, dates, times and venues in the following program.

Outstanding concerts of the Santiago Apostle Festivities 2022 (Praza da Quintana)

July 21st, Thursday: The New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble. 22.15 pm *this concert will take place at Praza do Obradoiro
July 22nd, Friday: Rocío Márquez + Bronquio. 10:00 p.m.
July 23rd, Saturday: Caléxico. 10:00 p.m.
July 24th, Sunday: Heredeiros da Crus. 10:00 p.m.
July 25th, Monday: Jenny and The Mexicats. 10:00 pm
July 26th, Tuesday: Garufa Big Band. 9:30 p.m.
July 27th, Wednesday: Michelle David & The True Tones. 10:00 p.m.
July 28th, Thursday: Real Filharmonía de Galicia. 9.30 p.m.
July 29th, Friday: Santiago Municipal Band with Paco Lodeiro, Rosa Cedrón and Miguel Ladrón de Guevara. 9.30 p.m.
July 30th, Saturday: Xornadas de Folclore Galego: traditional dance groups. 9.30 p.m.
July 31st, Sunday: La Chiva Gantiva. 10.45 p.m.

And many more concerts in the Apostle 2022 program.

Traditional costumes

Do you want to discover the Galician tradition? Then don’t miss the opportunity to explore the real folklore during the Galician Costume Day (Día do Traxe Galego), which will be held on July 30th for the whole day. Workshops, activities for the little ones, parades and photocall and a final contest to award diplomas to the most decorated costume.

And how about learning about traditional games?

There will also be a Chave Tournament, a popular Galician game in which participants must throw discs to hit a metal piece, the chave.

On July 21st, 22nd and 23rd you can attend the XLIV ‘Festas do Apóstolo’ Chave Tournament in the Alameda Park next to the Santa Susana Nursery School.


In addition, the parades of cabezudos are also an iconic part of the festival: giants and cabezudos are dolls that represent stereotypical characters. This tradition dates back to the Middle Ages, but is still very much alive.

You can see these incredible giants at Praza da Quintana at 12:00 noon, and at Praza do Toural at 12:30 noon on July 24th.

In addition to all of the above, there will be monologues, circus, soccer, theater, comparsas, open-air cinema, children’s shows and much more!

You can find here the complete program of this great party.

Who was Santiago (Saint James for the English speakers)

Apóstol Santiago de Compostela galiwonders

According to the Bible, James was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and older brother of the apostle John. His Latin name, Iacobus, comes from the Hebrew Ya’akov. In Spanish, Santiago is a deformation of the Latin ‘Sanctus Iacobus’. He is also known as Santiago the Greater, to distinguish him from the other Apostle James, the Lesser.

The Apostle’s Day in Spain

According to legends, St. James preached in the Iberian Peninsula and after his death, his body arrived on the Galician coast by ship. From there, he was taken inland to be buried in Santiago de Compostela.

Santiago has been the patron saint of Spain since the 17th century. Since 1630, the Apostle’s Day has been celebrated every July 25. Although this is not the oldest celebration: since 1122, the year in which the last stone of the Romanesque Cathedral was laid, every time St. James’ Day fell on a Sunday, it was a Holy Year in Santiago de Compostela. All pilgrims arriving in Compostela in a Holy Year can receive pardons and blessings from the Church. The next Holy Year will be in 2021 and a large influx of pilgrims is expected in the city.

And a curious fact: many Spanish, Galician and Portuguese names come from the name of the Apostle: Jacobo, Jacob, Jaime, Iago, Yago, Diego, Diogo, Tiago and of course, Santiago.

The National Day of Galicia

In 1919, the Galician nationalists decided that they would celebrate Galicia Day on July 25, starting the following year. The date was chosen in honor of St. James the Apostle, patron saint of Galicia and its capital, Compostela.

The celebrations were halted during the Franco regime, as displays of any nationalism other than Spanish were forbidden. Galicians abroad gathered to celebrate this day and some of those who remained offered a symbolic mass for the famous Galician poet Rosalía de Castro. Nevertheless, there were religious celebrations, since Santiago was the patron saint of Spain and Franco’s regime promoted Spanish nationalism.

If you want to visit Santiago or walk the Way of St. James, do not hesitate to contact us! At Galiwonders, we will take care of all the organization so you can forget about the problems and focus on enjoying your trip.


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