We have a few reasons to think that Easter is a good time to do the Camino de Santiago. If everything were “normal” the celebrations during these holidays would be very special, especially in a year as important as the Holy Year Xacobeo 2021. However, this year the Galician community will have restrictions for the Covid-19, with a perimeter closure like the rest of the country, which will limit access to pilgrims. Let’s see more about the Holy Week this year.
Holy Week during Holy Year Xacobeo 2021
This year 2021, Holy Week in Galicia will be celebrated from March 26 to April 11. Specifically, the holidays of Holy Week in Galicia are: Holy Thursday (April 1) and Good Friday (April 2). As we have said before, because of the coronavirus pandemic, each autonomous community will be confined by perimetral closure from April 26 to April 9 by resolution of the Ministry of Health. In addition, the Interterritorial Council has established a curfew from 10:00 p.m. and meetings of a maximum of four people not living together. The objective is to try not to fall into the same mistake of last summer and Christmas, when the number of contagions increased considerably. Although this is bad news for the tourism sector and the professionals of the Camino, we hope that with this measure the situation will improve for the summer throughout Spain.
Here below you can see the poster for the Holy Week 2021, realized jointly between all the “Cofradías” (brotherhoods) and that represents the importance of the Holy Week of Santiago declared celebration of tourist interest, in Galicia.
Although the pandemic canceled the Holy Week processions in 2020, the president of the Xunta de Cofradías de Santiago, José Ramón Muñiz, affirmed that “last year we also celebrated Holy Week and Holy Week will always be celebrated. It commemorates the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, that is why, although we do not go out to make our processions, we live it anyway”.
Neither the processions for the Holy Week 2021 will be carried out because the objective is to avoid crowds of people. However, we will be able to live the Holy Week in a private and safe way, following from home everything retransmitted online. While waiting for the “normality” to return to our lives and to the Camino de Santiago, we want to dream about the future routes that we will do during this festivity. Therefore, in this post we tell you about some of the most popular places, along each of the routes, during Holy Week. Processions, traditions, celebrations… the Camino de Santiago has so many different routes, that in each of them we will be able to discover different celebrations of Easter. Let’s discover a little more of the most popular ones in the region of Galicia.
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Walk the Camino de Santiago in Easter
The Holy Week Processions in Ferrol (English Way)
The Holy Week in Ferrol is the most popular of Galicia region, a Festival of International Tourist Interest. From the Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, the city hosts more than 26 processions throughout its streets. The city welcomes visitors from all over the world, who travel to Ferrol to see the worshippers and the parades. The most popular ones: Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. If you plan to walk the English Way during this week, we strongly recommend you to book in advance, as accommodation could be an issue.
Festival of the Holy Christ in Finisterre (Finisterre & Muxia Way)
The Festival of the Holy Christ in Finisterre, takes place on Easter Sunday, on the road of the lighthouse. It commemorates the Passion of Christ, represented by town locals. This religious play represents the moment in front of the tomb of Jesus Christ, when the Roman soldiers were guarding it. And an angel brought the news of the resurrection. All the emotions of joy and happiness are represented on this play, that ends with the “Dance of Our Lady of Areas” (a traditional dance from the 17th century).
The Holy Week of Paradela (Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Way)
The Portuguese Way of the Camino de Santiago has an alternative route, from Pontevedra to Padrón, known as the “Spiritual Variant” (or “Variante Espiritual” in Spanish). Paradela is a small village in Meis (right on this Camino de Santiago route), very popular in the area because of its Holy Week celebrations. The most popular one: the re-enactment of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, that takes place in the chapel. Even though Paradela is a very small village, all the details of this play are very conscientious: from the costumes, the performance, the setting… we strongly recommend to discover it if you are around!
The processions of Mondoñedo (Northern Way)
Mondoñedo is one of the most popular stops of the Northern Way (or Camino del Norte). It used to be one of the capitals of the Kingdom of Galicia, and its cathedral is impressive. There are a couple of singularities about the Holy Week in Mondoñedo. One of them, is the procession taking place on Good Friday, just for women (known as the Procession of Solitude, or “Procesión de la Soledad”). The traditional song played during this procession, is the “Plorans“, written by Mestre Pacheco. This song can only be played in Mondoñedo, and at the Royal Chapel in Madrid!
What are the advantages and disadvantages of walking during this period of the year?
Many pilgrims ask us if doing the Camino at Easter is a good time, because of the weather conditions, the events they can find and the prices. Let’s see below the positive and negative aspects of walking one of the Jacobean routes during this holiday.
Easter on the Camino de Santiago: Advantages
–Special Events: the Holy Week is a very special period in Spain, particularly in some specific regions. That is the case of Ferrol, starting point of the English Way, and the city where we can see the most renowned religious processions of Galicia. We will also be able to enjoy Easter in other cities along the different routes, such as Tui, Sarria or Santiago de Compostela. There will be liturgical ceremonies and musical events. And of course, we don’t need to talk about the Holy Week of Seville, starting point of the Vía de la Plata, as it is renowned worldwide.
-More social Camino: in Spain, students enjoy at least one week of holidays in Easter, and most of the companies close on Holy Thursday and Friday. This means that many national pilgrims use these days off to travel. The Camino starts to be full of “life” again, after winter, and the Holy Week is considered to be the beginning of the new season. If you are an international pilgrim, looking to meet Spanish walkers on the Camino, Easter is the perfect time to do so.
-Spring-like landscapes: the dates of the Holy Week can vary every year depending on the Christian calendar, but it tends to mark the beginning of the Spring. The landscape covered with flowers will accompany us on our way to Santiago de Compostela.
Easter on the Camino de Santiago: Disadvantages
-Weather: many pilgrims (particularly the Spanish ones) tend to walk in July and August, to have better chances of good weather on the way. It depends on the period of the year, but if Easter is too early (March for example) the rain could be our “travel companion”.
-Difficulties when looking for accommodation: if we put “holidays” and “good weather forecast” in the same equation, the result will be loads of national pilgrims looking to walk the Camino. This could mean problems when looking for accommodation. For those who are sure about walking the Camino in Easter, we would recommend you to book as soon as possible to avoid last minute surprises, especially if you want to walk the French Way or the Portuguese Way.
-Higher prices: considering the large number of tourists that come to Spain during the Holy Week, hotels use to increase their prices compared to the rest of the year, as it is considered to be high season.
Easter is a really nice period, with a lot of life and activities going on, but you’ll need to get your wallet ready! What about you, which is your favorite period of the year to walk the Camino de Santiago? Have you ever walked it in Easter? If you want information also about Easter on the Via Francigena, don’t miss this post!
Do you have any questions about walking the Camino de Santiago in Easter? Please do not hesitate to contact us! A member of the team will get back to you in less than 24 hours! From Galiwonders, we want to wish you a Happy Easter with the hope that soon we can all return to the Camino!