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Festival of Apostle Saint James, Santiago de Compostela
Like all major Spanish festivals, the St. James festival in Santiago de Compostela mixes
religious fervor with popular fun. It is celebrated in the second half of July, with the two
most important days being the 24 th and the 25 th . On July 24 th , there is a spectacular pyro-
technics show, with fireworks soaring over the cathedral. On the 25 th , there is an offering to
the apostle (known as Santiago), performed by the King of Spain or a representative of the
Monarchy. This mass makes use of the botafumeiro , a huge metal incense burner that hangs
from a long chain and swings from one end of the cathedral to the other, filling the whole
building with a pleasant aroma.
The fortnight of celebrations also includes concerts, regional costume shows, traditional
dances and Galician music bands and contests (with bagpipes being the most typical and
important instrument). Santiago de Compostela has a large university , so you can expect a
youthful and energetic atmosphere throughout the festival.
Image Credit: Fireworks show in Obradoiro Square. Image by Tapetum.
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