Pentecost is a holy day in the Christian calendar, it celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit fifty days after Easter. The Camino as a mainly Christian pilgrimage celebrates Pentecost Sunday widely. If you are on the Camino, during this time you can celebrate it at one of the many masses along different Camino routes.
Pentecost celebrates the day the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles, causing them to speak in tongues. The story goes at the last supper, Jesus instructed his twelve disciples to go into the world to heal and minister on their own. As a result, they became apostles. Fifty days after Jesus died, the holy spirit descended onto the apostles. This made them speak in foreign tongues. This Pentecostal experience enabled the apostles to directly talk to God. Many Christians see the descent of the Holy Spirit as the birth of the church. Pictures depicting apostles show them with a halo around their heads.
When does Pentecost occur?
As Easter is a moveable feast. The date that Pentecost is celebrated on the Camino changes annually. Normally it is celebrated on the fiftieth day of Easter. Pentecost comes from the Greek pentekoste meaning fiftieth. It marks the end of the Easter cycle, which began 90 days previous with Ash Wednesday at the start of Lent. This is ten days after the feast of the Ascension and the seventh Sunday after Easter.
Baptism has traditionally been an important part of Pentecostal practices with Easter and Pentecost being the busiest times. In the UK, Pentecost is normally referred to as Whit Sunday. White garments are worn by the candidates to be baptized. It is called “Pfingstein” in Germany and coincided with spring outdoor activities.
In other parts of the world, the day is celebrated differently. It is a solemnity in the Roman Catholic Church, a great feast in the Eastern Orthodox church, and a principal feast in the Anglican churches. The Jewish feast of weeks described in the book of Acts was a great pilgrimage feast that had people coming from all over the Roman empire and gathering in Jerusalem.
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Pentecost on the Camino de Santiago
Pentecost on the Camino involves a mass service where the operation of the Botafumeiro will occur at the Cathedral in Santiago. The Botafumeiro is only swung at special masses held at the Santiago Cathedral. You can find out more information from the Santiago cathedral website.
Mass times for 2021 Pentecost:
- Saturday, May 22, 2021 – Pentecost Vigil. At 7:30 p.m. Confirmations, the Archbishop presides.
- Sunday, May 23, 2021 – Pentecost. At 11:40 a.m. Cabildo procession and Solemn Mass presided over by the Archbishop. Operation of the Botafumeiro.
Future dates of Pentecost
As 2021 and 2022 are Jacobean Holy years on the Camino, religious days have important significance in the Christian calendar. A lot more celebrations and festivities happen year long on the Camino in these years. The date for Pentecost in 2022 is Sunday, June 5th. So you have plenty of time to plan your trip to be at Santiago on this special day.
There are also many local festivals celebrated annually along the Camino. Festas da Ascensión celebrated at the end of May in Santiago is a highlight. It is here you can really meet the people and experience the culture first hand. Other Important days include Easter, Ascension and St. James Day in July being one of the biggest.
To start planning your 2022 Camino to coincide with Pentecost Sunday – get in touch with us! We can answer all your questions and make booking a breeze. We have a flexible free date change policy so if your plans change, you are covered.
Originally published on 20th May 2021