25th July 2018 – the Day of St James in Galicia and Spain
The 25th of July is Día de Santiago – the Day of Santiago, in Spain . . . and a big fiesta in Galicia in the northwest of the country where St James (Sant Iago) is the Patron Saint – “el Patrón”: 25 julio 2018 es Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol y Día festivo.
Saint James is actually the Patron Saint of the whole of Spain, but the biggest celebrations take part in Galicia and in particular in the city of Santiago de Compostela – and not solely on this day but during the whole fortnight July 15th-31st.
July 24th and the 25th are the two main days: On the night of July 24th there is an impressive firework display in honour of St James, and there is a large bonfire. Then on July 25th, High Mass is held in the Cathedral, during which the famous (and spectacular) “botafumeiro” (a giant thurible or censer) is set swinging back and forth down the isle enveloping the whole Cathedral in a mystical halo.
There is music, dancing (including open-air dances), and processions through the streets and you can see the colourful regional costumes.
Of course, the city is full of Pilgrims who have completed the famous Camino de Santiago – the Way of St James, and there is a general party atmosphere.
The symbol of St James is the St James Cross – la Cruz de Santiago, a distinct-shaped cross with flourished arms and one of the traditional symbols of El Camino – along with the Concha Scallop shell, and both feature strongly on ♥ Camino de Santiago jewellery .
See the shell on this person’s back-pack?
Many people walking El Camino into Santiago de Compostela carry a symbolic concha shell or St James cross