Camino Holy Year | All You Need To Know
A Jacobean Year or Ano Xacobeo is a Jubilee or Camino Holy Year. A year is considered a Jacobean or Holy Year when Saint James Day, 25th July, falls on a Sunday.
In a normal year, the number of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago increases significantly during Holy Years, particularly in July, as many pilgrims aim to arrive in Santiago de Compostela in time for Saint James Day celebrations.
Because of leap years, Holy Years follow a pattern of 6-5-6-11 years. 2021/2022 was the most recent Jacobean Year. 2027 will be the next Ano Xacobeo, followed by 2032 and so on
What is Camino Holy Year?
The Camino de Santiago has a Holy Year or Ano Xacobeo whenever the Feast of St James, 25th July, falls on a Sunday. This only happens every few years, and the last Ano Xacobeo was in 2021/2022. In fact, because of our leap years, Holy Years only occur 14 times in a century, so it is quite a unique experience. The next Holy Year will be in 2027.
Two facts make a Jacobean Year special for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago:
- The Holy Door in Santiago’s Cathedral, the Porta Santa, located in the Praza da Quintana only opens for Jacobean Years and remains open the whole year. The Holy Door is officially opened on 31st December, the last day of the previous year.
- A full plenary indulgence can be obtained, forgiving all the sins. To qualify, pilgrims must visit the cathedral, pray and attend Mass. They should have also gone to Confession within the 15 days before the trip or after the visit to the Cathedral.
We are very much looking forward to the next Camino Holy Year (Ano Xacobeo) on the Camino de Santiago. But before you get too excited, let’s learn a little bit about Camino Holy Year and why it’s such a special event for pilgrims.
In 2021, the feast of St. James (July 25th) fell on a Sunday, thus making the year a Holy Year. St. James is the patron saint of Spain and according to the New Testament, he was one of Jesus’ 12 Apostles.
His remains are said to be buried in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and are therefore a major source of pilgrimage. People have walked the Camino to Santiago for thousands of years, a pilgrimage we still make today.
July 25th is also Galicia’s national day, which is quite fitting as it’s home to the Camino de Santiago.
During every Holy Year, a special entrance called the ‘Holy Door’ is opened on the east side of the Cathedral and since the 12th Century, pilgrims who visit the shrine on the Holy Year are granted a Plenary Indulgence.
In 2022, the Holy Year was extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic restricting travel for so long and it was an incredibly busy year on the Camino.
Planning to Walk The Camino de Santiago During Holy Year?
During the Camino Holy Year, it is very likely there will be more pilgrims on the trails than ever before. While this is wonderful for meeting like-minded people and sharing in a very unique experience, it’s a good idea to plan your trip as soon as possible.
A question we often get asked is “How far in advance should I book?” The answer is as far in advance as possible as you’ll be more likely to avoid any disappointment and secure the type of experience you are looking for.
There can also be limited availability for accommodation along the popular routes, especially during the busier times of the year, so the earlier you book the better! Any questions, queries or requests can be directed to our knowledgeable team.
Whether you’re after the solo experience or you’d prefer the comfort and company of a group during Camino Holy Year, we have something for everyone. Whatever way you choose to walk (or cycle) the Camino de Santiago, you can expect a very memorable trip filled with joy, hope, and spirituality. The Spirit of the Camino is alive and well and will be in full force!
Which Route Should You Choose?
While there’ll be great fun to be had on the Camino Frances, this might be a great year to choose one of the quieter routes, which are likely going to be busier than usual anyway! One great option if you choose to go down the more peaceful path is the Camino Primitivo.
The Camino Primitivo is the oldest of the routes and one of the most challenging. However, the views are simply spectacular. There is also the Via de la Plata, the longest of all of the routes. The last 100 KM of the Via de Plata, however, is the most beautiful of all of the ways into Santiago, so this could be an option for a less busy yet beautiful Camino journey.
How We Can Help You Plan Your Camino
As we’ve previously mentioned, booking early is your best chance for securing your dream trip. Camino Holy Year is going to be very busy and we want you to have the best of the best!
If you book your trip with us, we’ll look after the maps, walking notes, luggage transfers and accommodation. We also have a 24-hour assistance number to help ensure that your trip is as hassle-free as possible.
Have you got more questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will help answer all of your Holy Year questions.