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When to see the Botafumeiro

botafumeiro-santiago-compostela-cathedral-caminowaysThe ‘Botafumeiro’ is the famous giant thurible or censer in Santiago de Compostela cathedral. A ‘Botafumeiro’ has been used since the Middle Ages, originally to clean the air when crowds of pilgrims having completed the Camino de Santiago arrived in Santiago de Compostela after their long journey. The Codex Calixtinus, the first Camino de Santiago ‘guide-book’, refers to the ‘Botafumeiro’ as Turibulum Magnum, which means this ritual has been taking place at least since the 12th century. The current ‘Botafumeiro’ dates back to 1851 and it’s made of silver-plated brass, weighting 53kgs when empty and up to 10 kgs more when full.

Eight men, called ‘tiraboleiros’, are required to operate the ‘Botafumeiro’. After being filled with incense and coal by the ‘tiraboleiros’, the 1,5mtr-high ‘Botafumeiro’ is tied to a rope hanging by the altar and set in motion with great precision, forming an impressive 65-metre long arched trajectory along the cathedral. In only a minute and a half, the ‘Botafumeiro’ reaches 68km per hour.

If you want to see the ‘Botafumeiro’ in use, the easiest way is to attend pilgrim mass on Friday evening at 19.30pm. It is also used on special dates throughout the year for important liturgical celebrations such as Christmas Day and Saint James Day.

Here’s the ‘Botafumeiro’ calendar:

6th January: Epiphany

Easter Sunday

Ascension of Our Lord (May)

23rd May: Apparition of the Apostle

Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter)

25th July: Feast of Saint James

15th August: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

1st November: All Saints’ Day

Feast of Christ the King (Sunday before the first Sunday of Advent in November)

8th December: Immaculate Conception

25th December: Christmas Day

30th December: Arrival of the Holy Apostle

The Botafumeiro can also be requested and booked by individuals (you will need to check with the cathedral for fees).

Requests should be addressed to the Pilgrims Office:

Oficina de Acogida de Peregrinos
Rúa do Vilar, 1
15705 Santiago de Compostela
Tel: (+34) 981 568 846 –

To help you plan or book your Camino de Santiago holiday, contact our travel consultants.


Writer at
Marketing Manager Maria Golpe is from Viveiro, in the misty and beautiful northern coast of Galicia. She loves Santiago, where she studied Journalism at Santiago de Compostela University. She also loves good food, travel and all things arty crafty.
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27 Responses to “When to see the Botafumeiro”


Hi Rami, thank you for your question and we are glad that you are finding the information useful. Our best advice would be to contact the Pilgrims office in Santiago de Compostela directly and they will be able to advise you on the most up to date times. You can see from the site that pilgrim masses take place at 1pm and 6pm on most days. See here for the timetable: Please note that Salceda de Caselas is more than 100km from Santiago and on average we recommend walking this over 6 days. If you would like any further information on what our packages include please contact our customer care team on


Thanks for this information… Me and my wife are planning to make a pilgrimage (on foot) the coming August. I am thinking to reach the Cathedral on August 15 (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin). What time do you think that the mass will start, and what time do you advice to leave Salceda?


Hi Rick, it is called the artichoke and it is used to tighten the ropes. Kindest regards, Lisa.


What was the device that was put on the end of the rope after the censer was removed? Some sort of pendulum?


Good Morning Charif, thank you for your query. I am going to pass it on to our travel team so that they can best answer your questions. Kind regards, Lisa.

Charif Mrad

Hello Maria!
Dear I want your advice for visiting the church of santiago and our lady of fatima with my family
We are from Lebanon ,
And we are my wife maria and three girls .
Please if you can help me if the 22/23 of July is the best time and small advice about the botafumerio it will done every day during the week festival?
One more question about the accomodation if any advice ?
Best regard
Charif mrad


Hi Marianne, unfortunately the main Cathedral website has indicated that the Botafumeiro will not work at the 19:30 mass until further notice. Here is the email address that you could reach out to and find out when it will be operating during your stay – Also, the Cathedral de Santiago website will keep you updated on all of the dates and timings. See here: I hope that this helps. Kindest regards, Lisa from


Hi Maria, I will be in Santiago on Friday March 10th. Do you know if there will be botafumeiro at 19.30hrs?



Hi Chris, pilgrim mass is at 12 every day but the Botafumeiro can be seen at the 7:30pm mass each Friday (not the pilgrim mass). I hope this helps.


Hi im walking the camino now, and im going to arrive in santiago at 9 june. Ive heard that botafumiero is held every friday, so im planning to be see that at 10 june.(its friday) so i just wanted to know the time of the ceremony. Some say its 7:30pm, some say 12:00pm. can you tell me the exact time?


Hi Nancy, best option would be to double check at the cathedral/pilgrims office today or the local tourist office in Santiago to confirm. The pilgrim mass takes place at 12pm but just to double check the Botafumeiro will be used at that particular time, as there are many masses taking place each day at the cathedral. I hope this helps, Nancy!

Nancy Allen

Do you know what time on May 23rd we should be at the cathedral, as not to miss the Botafumeiro ceremony?


Hi Mila, thank you for your comment. You will also find direct contact details for the Cathedral on this page. If you are looking to see the Botafumeira on specific dates we would recommend that you contact them directly. The Botafumeiro is used on Feast days and it doesn’t look likely to take place on May 9 + 10. See the list of feast days here: We hope that you enjoy Santiago. It is a beautiful city. Kind regards, Lisa.

Mila O'Connor

I read that one could book the botafumiero, subject to fees? Is this like booking a special mass for our intention and having them light the botafumiero at such mass? Please advise if this information is correct and the fee? My family and I have plans to be in Santiago de Compostela, spending 2 nights (May 9 and 10 but still to be confirmed.) San Santiago is special to us as we celebrate our edding Anniversary on his feastday. Thank you for your reply.


Thank you for the kind answer


Hi Dario, that is still taking place this year, as far as we know. We’ll keep you updated if there are any changes. Kind regards.

Dario Corradino

Last year at every pilgrim mass on Friday evening at 19.30pm they lighted the botafumeiro. But are you sure that il will be the same this year? On the website they don’t mention this appointment


Hi Margaret,

In general the Botafumeiro is swung every friday and on the feast days listed. I hope that this helps. Best wishes, Lisa.

Margaret Jones

Will they swing the botafumeiro at the 19.30 service on November 1st All Saints Day too?


Hi Joseph, pilgrim mass is always at 12noon. See here for a full mass schedule at the cathedral:, kind regards

Joseph Kristufek

What time is mass at Santiago de compestelo on November 1?

Roland M.

Hi LuAnn, Yes it is most likely it will at 12pm on weekends year round

LuAnn Westerhuis

Will the botafumeiro be swinging on October 3 or 4 (2015)?

[…] at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London recently.   It is a replica of the entrance to the Cathedral of St James, at Santiago de Compostela, very well known to anyone who has walked the Camino in Spain, and below […]

Heidi Winston

They light the Botafumeiro every time they have €300 in total donated by pilgrims. it can be any time or day of the week. it is best to check with the tourist office in the Cathedral they will tell you when it is next scheduled. I saw it at 19.30 then the next day it was lit again at 12.30. i recommend checking with tourist office. it is an amazing sight. good luck.


Hi Susie

We don’t know what time but we expect it to be swung during the pilgrim mass at noon, which is the most popular. It is definitely being swung on Fridays at 19,30pm also. We recommend you double check when you arrive in Santiago, either at the cathedral museum or Turismo de Santiago office in Rúa do Vilar. I hope this helps! have a lovely time in Santiago.

Susie Cliff

The botafumeiro is due to be swung on Thurs 29 May, at what time will it happen please?

Una peregrina

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