Camino Holy Year 2021 Holy Year 2021 FAQ
The Holy Year 2021 (Xacobeo) promises to be one of the biggest events on the Camino de Santiago in years.
With the Holy Year just around the corner, we answer some of your most Frequently Asked Questions.
Q. 1 What is the Holy Year 2021 (Ano Xacobeo)?
A Jacobean Year or Ano Xacobeo is a Jubilee or Holy Year.
A year is considered Jacobean or a Holy Year when Saint James Day, 25th July, falls on a Sunday.
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.
Q. 2 What makes a Holy Year different?
Two facts make a Jacobean Holy Year special for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago:
1. 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.
2. A full plenary indulgence can be obtained.
Q. 3 What is a “plenary indulgence”?
The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession). An indulgence is the full remission of all temporal punishment (time spent in purgatory) up to that point in a person’s life. Individuals can gain Plenary Indulgences for themselves and for the deceased.
To gain the Jubilee Indulgence individuals must:
- Visit the Cathedral of Santiago where lies the Tomb of St. James the Great.
- Say a prayer: at least the Apostle’s Creed, the Our Father, and a prayer for the intentions of the Pope. It is also recommended that the individual attend Mass.
- Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (go to confession) and Eucharist (go to communion) within the 15 days before or after the visit to the Cathedral.
- Indulgences can be gained at other times in the year through the performance of other acts of devotion. These are outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Q. 4 When do I need to book for the Holy Year 2021?
During the Holy Year 2021, it is highly likely there will be more pilgrims on the trails than ever before.
While this is wonderful for meeting likeminded people and sharing in a unique experience, planning your trip as soon as possible is a good idea.
A question we often get asked is “How far in advance should I book?” The answer is as far in advance as possible. The cancellations and postponements that pilgrims suffered in 2020 due to the Coronavirus outbreak in Spain have made it even more important to book early as many people are postponing.
If you can book far in advance you are more likely to secure the type of experience you are looking for. There is limited availability for accommodation along the popular routes so the earlier you book the better!
Q. 5 Will the Camino be crowded?
While it is impossible to crowd thousands of miles of trails, the most popular routes, like the Camino Frances or Camino Portugues will experience a big increase in the number of people and the Camino may feel very busy at times.
If clients are looking for a quieter route, they can still join routes like the Via de la Plata, the Original Way, the English Way or the Sea of Arousa route that not many pilgrims take on or they can choose to go on the shoulder seasons like the end of April or beginning of October.
The only problematic sections regarding the high number of pilgrims would be the last 100km so Pilgrims taking on longer routes should really only be concerned about the last week of their journey and should try to avoid finishing after mid-June of before late September.
Q. 6 Are there any special events to celebrate the Xacobeo?
Apart from the bigger celebrations, you will find in Santiago for St. James’ Day, towns along the different routes will host exhibitions, concerts, and seminars to coincide with the Holy Years.
To find out more about these we recommend checking the cultural agenda for each of the towns where you will be starting/ending your day to see what is in store during your stay.
Feel free to contact us on the form below if you have any questions about the Holy Year 2021:
For travel inspiration, Camino tips and advice, events and special offers