feast of st james cabezudos parade

Feast of St James, the patron saint of Santiago de Compostela

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When July comes, Santiago de Compostela dresses up to celebrate the feast of St James (“fiesta de Santiago” in Spanish), the patron saint of Santiago, Galicia and of all Spain. If your pilgrimage to the holy city ends by the last two weeks of July, you will have the opportunity to witness one of the most representative and vibrant celebrations.

It is important to know that St James Day is on 25 July and is a public holiday in the Basque Country, Cantabria and Galicia. It means that it is a day off for the general population, schools and most businesses are closed. Most shops are closed but some bakers and food stores may be open. Public transport services generally run to a reduced schedule.

Why is St James the patron of Santiago

Santiago de Compostela, located in northwest Spain, is the capital of the Autonomous Community of Galicia. The name of the city is directly related to St James. According to local legend, the tomb of St James was discovered in 813AD by a shepherd named Pelayo.

When the king of Asturias and Galicia, Alfonso II, found out the news, he undertook the Camino de Santiago. The king followed the Primitive Way (Camino Primitivo) to see with his own eyes the discovery. He ordered a church to be built were the remains of St James were found and declared St James the patron of his empire.

Celebration of St James, the apostle

Even though the main days of celebration are the 24th and the 25th of July, different activities and entertainment take place in the city starting in the last fortnight of the month. The sound of the cathedral bells ringing out at noon on the 24th is one of the main acts to announce the big event that will take place at night.

The Plaza del Obradoiro is filled with lights and colours. The cathedral is illuminated by eye-catching multidimensional projections. Also, you can see the setting on fire of an impressive firework castle that represents the cathedral’s facade. At almost the same time, a magnificent fireworks display in honour of the apostle. What a fantastic way to celebrate! Definitely a show that it’s worth seeing.

Another important focal point is inside the Santiago cathedral, where you can see the Botafumeiro and the pilgrim mass. It is important to know that this year, due to the restoration work inside the Cathedral, the pilgrim mass is celebrated in San Francisco Church at 12pm. The Botafumeiro ritual is suspended until further notice.

Activities like traditional dances, local music (bagpipes), theatre plays, street shows, passacaglias, giants and bighead parades, concerts and popular night parties are also part of the St James festivity agenda. Another impressive firework display announces the end of the festivity on the 31st of July.

Things to do in Santiago de Compostela during the festivities

Photo credit: santiagoturismo.com

In 2019 the Feast of St James will be celebrated from 19 to 31 July, with a programme aimed at member of the public and in which all activities will be free.

Programme

Festas do Apóstolo 2019

Friday 19 July 

‘XLI TORNEO DE CHAVE FESTAS DO APÓSTOLO’. Parque da Alameda. Next to Santa Susana Children’s School

7.30pm Women’s tournament | 8:30pm Men’s tournament

10:30pm. ‘PREGÓN’ ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE BALCONIES OF THE PAZO DE RAXOI, presented by Luis Zahera. Praza do Obradoiro

23.30pm CONCERT: ZALÓN. Praza do Obradoiro

23.00pm CONCERT: BUDIÑO. Praza da Quintana

23.30 CONCERT: KIND OF SOUL. Praza do Toural

Saturday 20 July:

‘DÍA DO TRAXE GALEGO’

11.30am GATHERING OF PARTICIPANTS at the Alameda and parade to San Paio de Antealtares.

1.00pm MASS at San Paio de Antealtares

2.00 pm RECEPTION at the City Hall

4.00pm CONCENTRATION OF PARTICIPANTS IN THE COSTUME CONTEST in San Domingos de Bonaval

7.30pm PARADE OF TRADITIONAL COSTUMES from Bonaval to Plaza Quintana

8.00pm EXHIBITION, COSTUME CONTEST AND CERTIFICATES AWARDED

‘XLI TORNEO DE CHAVE FESTAS DO APÓSTOLO’. Parque da Alameda. Next to Santa Susana Children’s School

5:00pm Grand female final | 5:00pm Grand male final

6.00pm BILLIE JEAN ‘LA INTRUSA’ DANCE. Duration: 15 min. Paseo da Alameda

6.30pm CHILDREN’S PERFORMANCE. Crunch. Praza de San Martiño Pinario

7.00pm BILLIE JEAN ‘LA INTRUSA’ DANCE. Duration: 15 min. Paseo da Alameda

7.30pm GRUPO INVERNÍA. Departing from Teatro Principal. Tour through the historical city centre: rúa Nova, praza do Toural, rúa do Vilar, praza das Praterías, rúa do Franco, praza do Toural, rúa das Orfas, rúa da Caldeirería, rúa do Preguntoiro, praza de Cervantes, rúa da Acibechería. End: praza das Praterías (concert)

10.00pm BEAT FEASTLINE UP | RHYTHM PART | KICO VILLA | DAVID OTERO. II ELECTRONIC MUSIC FESTIVAL. Praza da Quintana

10.30pm GRUPO LA VENTANA ORCHESTRA. Paseo Central da Alameda

11.00pm CONCERT: NUNATAK. Praza do Toural

Sunday 21 July 

‘XLV CONCURSO DE CIPRÍNIDOS’

‘FESTA DO ESCALO EN CHAIÁN’. Romaría. Israel. Praia fluvial de Chaián.

12.00am “COMPOSTELA” MUNICIPAL BAND. Casiano Mouriño Maquieira, director. Rúa do Vilar.

6.00pm GUIDED TOUR BY CASTELAO. Duration: 1h 30m. Parque da Alameda (statue of Valle Inclán). Route: Alameda, praza do Toural, rúa do Vilar, praza de Fonseca, praza do Obradoiro, praza da Quintana, Casa da Troia, Casas Reais, praza 8 de Marzo and San Domingos de Bonaval.

10.00pm CONCERT: XOEL LÓPEZ. Praza da Quintana.

11.00pm CONCERT: SUELEN ESTAR & THE SOUL MACHÍN. Praza do Toural

Monday 22 July 

10.00pm CONCERT: “THE MAIN SQUEEZE”. Praza da Quintana

11.00pm CONCERT: JAMILA PUROFILIN & REY MONTESINOS

Tuesday 23 July 

6.00pm ‘MARTES DE CONTO INFANTIL “O PAROLEIRO”. Bonaval park (if it rains the venue will be CC da Caramoniña)

6.00pm GUIDED TOUR BY CASTELAO. Duration: 1h 30m. Parque da Alameda (statue de Valle Inclán). Route: Alameda, praza do Toural, rúa do Vilar, praza de Fonseca, praza do Obradoiro, praza da Quintana, Casa da Troia, Casas Reais, praza 8 de Marzo and San Domingos de Bonaval.

10.00pm CONCERT: LA CASA AZUL. Praza da Quintana

11.00pm CONCERT: THE TUNE. Praza do Toural

Wednesday 24 July 

‘ENCONTRO DE XIGANTES E CABEZUDOS’. 12.00am Praza da Quintana | 12.30am Praza do Toural

‘IV MEMORIAL ANTONIO BERMÚDEZ’. 7.30pm FOOTBALL MATCH BETWEEN SD COMPOSTELA AND REAL CLUB CELTA “B”. Estadio Municipal Verónica Boquete de San Lázaro

10.00pm CONCERT: MOON CRESTA. Praza do Toural

11.30pm NIGHT SHOW AND FIRE OF THE APOSTLE. Praza do Obradoiro.

12.00pm CONCERT: LA M.O.D.A. Praza da Quintana

12.00pm LOS TROVADORES ORCHESTRA. Paseo Central da Alameda

Thursday 25 July 

‘ROMARÍA DOS LIBROS’. Asociación Compostela Literaria. Praza de Mazarelos

09.30am THE ‘BANDA MUNICIPAL DE MÚSICA’ ACCOMPANY THE PROCESSION OF THE APOSTLE.Casiano Mouriño Maquieira, director. Praza das Praterías.

10.30am MASS OF OFFERING TO THE APOSTLE in the church of San Martiño Pinario

12.30am ‘COMPARSA DE CABEZUDOS. Departing from Teatro Principal. Route: rúa Nova, praza das Platerías, Fonseca, Franco, praza do Toural, rúa Nova, Caldeirería, praza de Abastos, praza de Cervantes, Santo Agostiño, Casas Reais, rúa Travesa, Preguntoiro, Fonte Sequelo and rúa Nova.

5.00pm MASS IN MEMORY OF ROSALÍA DE CASTRO. Igrexa de San Domingos de Bonaval. 5.45pm Ofrenda floral no Panteón de Galegos Ilustres

6.00pm GUIDED TOUR BY CASTELAO. Duration: 1h 30m. Parque da Alameda (statue of Valle Inclán). Route: Alameda, praza do Toural, rúa do Vilar, praza de Fonseca, praza do Obradoiro, praza da Quintana, Casa da Troia, Casas Reais, praza 8 de Marzo and San Domingos de Bonaval.

10.00pm CONCERT: LEILÍA E MILLADOIRO. Praza da Quintana.

10.30pm IPANEMA ORCHESTRA. Paseo Central da Alameda.

11.00pm CONCERT: THE SOUL JACKET. Praza do Toural

Friday 26 July 

TRADFEST. FESTIVAL FOLK

10.30pm ‘TANGO Á RÚA’. Praza de San Martiño Pinario

10.30pm CUARTA CALLE ORCHESTRA. Paseo Central da Alameda

11.00pm CONCERT: PHANTOM CLUB. Praza do Toural

Saturday 27 July 

8.00pm EXHIBITION OF CARS AND VINTAGE SUITS. Praza das Praterías

9.30pm ‘XORNADAS DE FOLCLORE GALEGO’. BRINCADEIRA. CANTIGAS E AGARIMOS. COLEXIATA DO SAR. ULTREIA. Praza da Quintana

10.00pm CIRCOMPOSTELA. Parque de Belvís

10.30pm GRUPO ZELTIA ORCHESTRA. Paseo Central da Alameda.

11.00pm CONCERT: WÖYZA. Praza do Toural

Sunday 28 July

11.00am – 12.00am PARADE OF VINTAGE VEHICLES. Departing from the Railway Station, rúa de Romero Donallo, rúa de Santiago de Chile, praza de Vigo, rúa de Santiago del Estero, praza Roxa, rúa de Frei Rosendo Salvado, rúa de Ramón Cabanillas, praza de Puente Castro, rúa do Hórreo, praza de Galicia, rúa da Senra, Porta Faxeira, rúa do Vilar, praza das Praterías, praza do Obradoiro.

12.00am – 5.00 pm. CONCENTRATION OF VINTAGE VEHICLES. Praza do Obradoiro.

6.00pm GUIDED TOUR BY CASTELAO. Duration: 1h 30m. Parque da Alameda (statue of Valle Inclán). Route: Alameda, praza do Toural, rúa do Vilar, praza de Fonseca, praza do Obradoiro, praza da Quintana, Casa da Troia, Casas Reais, praza 8 de Marzo and San Domingos de Bonaval.

8.00pm ‘SERÁN DE HIP HOP’. Parque de Fermín Bouza Brey (Vite).

10.00pm CONCERT: CHICO CÉSAR. Praza da Quintana

11.00pm CONCERT: TRILITRATE. Praza do Toural.

Monday 29 July 

6.30pm CHILDREN’S PERFORMANCE ‘A ILLA SEN TESOURO’. Teatro Ghazafelhos. Praza de San Martiño Pinario.

9.00pm – 01.00am ‘TM POLA IGUALDADE’. Praza do 8 de Marzo.

9.00pm LÚA MOSQUETERA [poetry+reguetón]

9.30pm RUSSINHA DJ [black and electronic rhythms]

10.30pm CONCERT: PAPAYA [pop]

11.30pm RUSSINHA DJ [black and electronic rhythms]

10.00pm BANDA MUNICIPAL DE MÚSICA & GALLAECIA BIG BAND “A MÚSICA DE ANTES”. Paty Lesta and Narci Rodríguez, singers: Cristian Leggiero, director Gallaecia Big Band. Casiano Mouriño Maquieira, director. Praza da Quintana. Invitations can be collected at Teatro Principal ticket office from 23 July (6:00pm-9:00p.m Tuesday to Saturday)

11.00pm CONCERT. Puerta Sur Praza do Toural.

Tuesday 30 July 

1.00pm MUNICIPAL MUSIC BANDS OF PADRÓN E SANTIAGO. ‘Día de Padrón en Santiago’. Praza do Obradoiro.

6.00pm ‘MARTES DE CONTO INFANTIL’. ‘Xogos Paporrubio’. Parque de Bonaval.

6.00pm GUIDED TOUR BY CASTELAO. Duration: 1h 30m. Parque da Alameda (statue of Valle Inclán). Route: Alameda, praza do Toural, rúa do Vilar, praza de Fonseca, praza do Obradoiro, praza da Quintana, Casa da Troia, Casas Reais, praza 8 de Marzo and San Domingos de Bonaval.

8.00pm COOL SOUNDS + LACHLAN DENTON. Parque de Galeras.

10.00pm CONCERT: REAL FILHARMONÍA DE GALICIA. Paul Daniel, director. Praza da Quintana. Invitations can be collected at Teatro Principal ticket office from 23 July, from 6pm-9pm Tuesday to Saturday.

11.00pm CONCERT: BASANTA. Praza do Toural

Wednesday 31 July 

9.00pm CONCERT: BANDA CREBINSKY. HOLYWATER. FREDI LEIS. Praza da Quintana

10.00pm CONCERT: LULAVAI. Praza do Toural.

11.30pm FIREWORKS DISPLAY. Campus Sur 

12.00pm ESSENCIA ORCHESTRA. Paseo Central da Alameda

Source: santiagoturismo.com

Ending your pilgrimage on St James Day

Some devoted pilgrims walk, cycle or ride a horse on the Camino. They hope to complete their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela just before St James Day, so they can experience this big celebration and to attend all the special services to honour the apostle.

If you want to plan your Camino and to experience this big celebration contact us. Our Camino advisors will be very happy to help you design a tailor-made Camino for you.

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