Are you thinking about doing the Camino de Santiago and want your arrival to be absolutely magical? Allow us to tell you about a few interesting dates on which you can arrive to Santiago and find it brimming with life!
After a long and exhausting journey, getting to the cathedral is always exciting: the traditional music that’s playing, the overcast sky, the hundreds of fellow travellers who congregate in the square… However, there a few important dates in particular that bring the city of Compostela to life even more. The streets fill with people, and you can find markets in the squares and concerts at night.
No matter at what time we go down the stairs that lead to Obradoiro Square, we’re always likely to hear the sound of bagpipes. Almost every day of the year, without fail, there is a musician leaning on the arch, playing the soundtrack for the pilgrims’ arrival. Even so, there are several other dates that are even more special for the Galician capital, which you can keep in mind if you’d like them to coincide with your moment of glory in front of the cathedral, making the experience even more memorable.
NATIONAL DAY OF GALICIA, JULY 25 TH
July 25th is the Day of Galicia because it is the day dedicated to celebrating the Apostle St. James, patron saint of both Galicia and all of Spain. The pilgrimage to Compostela grew around the figure of the Apostle, which is why this is unquestionably one of the most interesting dates for your arrival to Santiago.
On this holiday, Santiago turns into a true party city full of traditional music and dance, fairs, food stalls, etc. Come night time, every year there are concerts that have a great vibe and are full of people.
We should also point out that on this day, Santiago’s old quarter fills with people and could potentially be uncomfortable for anyone who dislikes large crowds.
WHEN JULY 25 TH FALLS ON A SUNDAY
Back around 1122, quite a long time ago, the Camino de Santiago was already well-established. For this reason, on that year, Pope Calixto II decided to establish it as the Holy Year or “Año Xacobeo”, which is celebrated whenever July 25th falls on a Sunday.
Every century contains 14 Holy Years and the wave of pilgrims that arrive during each of these Years is related to the concept of the so-called plenary indulgence. To understand this concept a bit better, here is a fun yet enlightening video:
IN THE MONTH OF MAY, ASCENSION DAY
The festivities surrounding Ascension Day, or “Día de la Ascención” in Spanish, are the second most interesting out of all the possible dates for your arrival to Santiago, right after the day of the Apostle. The date varies every year, since it is celebrated the sixth Thursday after Easter. A week of parties in the Galician capital!
What will we find in Santiago if we decide to arrive during La Ascención? A lot of joy, a barrage of cultural events and many places to eat a great plate of octopus. It coincides with the end of the academic year, so you can even feel the excitement of the students who are finishing their exams and heading out to celebrate.
FOR LITERATURE ENTHUSIASTS: MAY 17TH
May 17th is Galician Literature Day, dedicated to highlighting a different writer each year whose literary creation was written in the Galician language. The streets of Compostela and the rest of Galicia have smelled of books on this date since 1963, the year of publication of the first copy of Galician Songs, written by Rosalía de Castro.
This is without a doubt one of the most interesting dates to arrive in Santiago, especially for those who love literature. On May 17th, in Compostela, there are book readings, plays, book markets and a host of other activities designed to put the selected author in the spotlight.
INFINITE NUMBER OF INTERESTING DATES FOR YOUR ARRIVAL TO SANTIAGO!
Galicia is also famous for its countless festivals, as it is an autonomous community that always has something to celebrate! Therefore, no matter what time of year you’ve chosen for your arrival to Compostela, it’s highly likely that it’ll be easy for you to have your dates coincide with an important holiday on the calendar. Carnival, Holy Week, Saint John’s Eve, or the “Magosto”.
But if you’re not a big fan of large crowds of people, Santiago has another magical thing to offer you! The festivals in the different districts are also a surprising affair, where the soul of the city comes to life. These are small, more local celebrations, in which the residents of Compostela take to the streets to dance to the rhythm of concerts and festivals planned by and for the neighbourhoods themselves: whether it’s the festivals of San Pedro, of Rúa Nova de Abaixo or those of El Sar, there are so many to choose from!
After the party has ended or before it even begins, the city itself has many secrets and hidden gems, which you can learn more about in this other post. Be sure to get the most out of this majestic city during your visit!
If you’re thinking about doing the Camino de Santiago and you want information about dates, interesting festivals or any other kind of help, don’t hesitate to contact us! We’d be happy to help you. You can write to us through Facebook, our contact page or in the comments section of this post.