Santiago de Compostela launches a Xacobeo that will last until end of 2022

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2021 is a significant year for pilgrims who walk the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James.

This is because, after an 11-year gap, Spain is once again celebrating a Jacobean Year. The tradition began almost 900 years ago, in 1122. Known as Año Xacobeo, the year is celebrated whenever July 25, St. James's feast day, falls on a Sunday.

The pope sent a message from Rome to bless this ceremony and all the pilgrims who will travel to Santiago during this “Xacobeo.”

The ceremony was full of symbolic rituals.

First, Bishop Julián Barrio knocked three times on the Holy Door, or Door of Forgiveness, with a hammer made of silver and wood.

He then opened this bronze door with a silver key.

'This is the door of the Lord.
'The righteous will enter through it.'

As of that moment, the Holy Year began, and the first pilgrims entered the cathedral.

Over the next few months, many more will enter this cathedral to pray before the remains of the apostle James, St. John's brother and one of Jesus' closest disciples.

After the ceremony, the pope's nuncio announced a surprise.

Pope's Nuncio to Spain

“It is extended into the year 2022, taking into account the Covid-19 pandemic, trying to avoid prohibited or unadvised crowds, and seeking the glory of God and the apostle James.”

The Mass concluded with the rite of “Botafumeiro,” a spectacular incense burner weighing 136 lbs and measuring almost 5 feet in height.

It takes seven or eight people to operate it. It can reach 42 miles per hour and climb up to 213 feet.

Santiago de Compostela is also a land of bagpipes.

That's why, after the ceremony, a musician named Carlos Núñez sang a special Salve Regina with this instrument.

Javier Martínez-Brocal
Translation: Christian Campos

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