Xacobeo: The Jubilee Year of the Camino de Santiago

2021 will be the next Holy Year in Compostela (Xacobeo). It is considered as the Compostela Jubilee Year when the Santiago the Apostle Day (July 25th) falls on a Sunday. On that date, the transfer of the remains of Santiago the Elder to Compostela is celebrated each year.

Xacobeo the jubilee year

Different terms are used to designate these years, considered to be of divine grace. One is the Holy Year or The Compostela Jubilee Year.

The other is the one that refers to Santiago the Apostle himself (Jacob). Hence, the name of Jacobean Year (in Spanish) or Year Xacobeo (in Galician) are also used.

It is also common to refer to the Holy Year, only, as Xacobeo, Jacobeo or Jubilee. That is why during the next year you will very often hear about Xacobeo 2021, the Jacobeo 2021 and the Compostela Jubilee 2021.

Over the past two centuries, the Jacobean Year has coincided every 6, 5, 6 and 11 years. The last Xacobeo was in 2010, 11 years ago.

If you are interested in pilgrimage and reaching Compostela on July 25th 2021, we recommend the Camino de Santiago from Sarria. If you need help planning your trip, leave us your details and we will contact you to organize it.

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    That means that during the remainder of the century, the following dates for the Compostela Holy Year will be as follows: 2021, 2027 (+ 6), 2032 (+5), 2038 (+6), 2049 (+ 11), 2055 (+6), 2060 (+5), 2066 (+6), 2077 (+11), 2083 (+6), 2088 (+5), 2064 (+6).

    One of the characteristics of the Jubilee Holy Year is that plenary indulgence is granted. During the Xacobeo, the Catholic Church has the power to grant forgiveness of all sins to those parishioners who visit the tomb of Santiago the Apostle. This process of maximum divine forgiveness is what is known as the Jubilee.

    How to obtain plenary indulgence for the next Holy Year 2021

    If during the next Holy Year Jacobeo 2021 you would like to obtain plenary indulgence you should know that the Catholic Church, in addition to demanding that you visit the Cathedral of Santiago, asks you to comply with certain religious rituals. These are:

    • Pay homage to the remains of Santiago the Apostle. It is not necessary to make a pilgrimage to the tomb, nor to complete a certain number of kilometres, just visit the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
    • Participate in some liturgical acts in the Cathedral of Santiago. Preferably at Holy Mass.
    • Pray by saying the Creed or an Our Father for the Pope’s intentions.
    • Make a confession of your sins (this sacramental act can be performed 15 days before or after your visit to the Cathedral of Santiago).
    • Receive the sacrament of communion.
    • Eucharistic Communion, for each of the indulgences.

    It is customary, during the Xacobeo, to access the Cathedral by the Holy Door, which opens only during the Jubilee. This door has been closed since 2010 and will reopen next Holy Year, 2021.

    When will the Holy Door Santiago de Compostela open in the coming Jubilee Year 2021?

    The thousands of pilgrims who have reached the Cathedral of Santiago, in recent years, have not been able to enjoy the privilege of seeing the Holy Door open. That is why the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is especially popular during the Xacobeo.

    As in all Holy Years, during the next Compostela Jubilee Year 2021, the Holy Door will remain open for 12 months. The opening will take place on December 31st  2020.

    History of the Holy Year

    It is a religious ritual in which the Archbishop of Compostela performs three blows with a hammer, made of silver, on the outer wall, which blocked the entrance. This gesture symbolizes that Santiago the Apostle is asked for permission to go through the door.

    The wall is then knocked down to open the Holy Door, which will remain open until December 31st in the Holy Year of 2021.

    History of the Holy Year

    The Holy Year compostelano was established by Pope Calixto II, in the year 1122. Moment that coincided with the laying of the last stone of the Cathedral of Santiago.

    The pontiff Calixto II, in addition to having made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, was a great benefactor of the Jacobean tradition. That’s one of the reasons, why the Codex Calixtinus, the oldest book about the Camino de Santiago, was named after him.

    The Holy Year began to be celebrated regularly from 1126. This privilege was renewed by the successive popes. Finally, in 1178, Alexander III declared the perpetual character of the Compostela Jubilee Year.

    During the Middle Ages, these measures had a strong impact on the development and evolution of the pilgrim tradition. As is the case today, the years considered to be a Holy Year show a sharp increase in the number of pilgrims.

    Subsequently, with the recovery of the routes on the Camino de Santiago, which occurred in the 20th century, the religious character of the Holy Year began to accompany itself with a wide cultural programme. This was intended to disseminate and promote Jacobean tradition.

    The first year in which religious and cultural activities were combined was the Holy Year of 1993. The year in which the Camino Frances obtained the cataloguing of World Heritage Site.

    Two Holy Years have been held throughout the 21st century. This Jacobean Year, 2021, will be the third during this century.

    Doing the Camino de Santiago during Holy Year 2021

    As mentioned above, the influx of pilgrims during the Holy Year increases considerably, as many people want to take advantage to obtain plenary indulgence during their pilgrimage. There are also many pilgrims who choose that year to do the Camino de Santiago because they want to experience the Jacobean tradition in all its splendour.

    Xacobeo during Holy Year 2021

    Below we talk about some of the peculiarities that the Camino de Santiago will have during the Holy Year 2021. Everything has its advantages and disadvantages!

    The Camino Frances will be especially busy

    Since the Camino Frances is already one of the most popular routes, during the next Holy Year 2021, it will be the preferred route of many pilgrims. Therefore, if you are looking to meet new people, the next Holy Year 2021 is an ideal occasion to do so.

    During the summer, there will be many more people on the Camino

    Summer is high season on the Camino de Santiago. In the Holy Year of 2021, it will be even more so, especially in the month of July, as on the 25th,Santiago the Apostle Day will be celebrated.

    It’s a great opportunity to discover other routes

    If you want to see the Door of Forgiveness open or receive plenary indulgence, but you want to do the Camino de Santiago with peace of mind, we recommend avoiding the Camino Frances and follow other routes, especially if you pilgrimage in summer.

    The good thing about the Xacobeo is that the influx of pilgrims increases throughout the year, so on any route of the Camino de Santiago and during any time, you will find pilgrims with which to share kilometres.

    An excellent opportunity to discover some less travelled or lesser-known routes. Some of them are:

    The Pilgrim’s mass and the Botafumeiro

    During the Xacobeo, the number of Pilgrim Masses increases, due to the greater number of pilgrims arriving at the Cathedral, daily. In addition, the Botafumeiro is seen every Sunday.

    Make sure of your accommodation

    Since the number of pilgrims is expected to increase considerably during the Holy Year 2021, we recommend that you book your accommodation in advance. Especially if you decide to do the Camino de Santiago during the spring or in the summer.

    If you want, we can take care of managing accommodation reservations, for you. You can also count on the advice of a specialized team and many more services. Check out our article on what it means to do the Camino de Santiago with the support of an agency, so you can find out more.

    To contact us, you can call us, leave us a comment on this post or write to us through our official page on Facebook. We will give you all the information that you need.

    Buen Camino!