The Botafumeiro (literally ’smoke spreader’ in Galician) is one of the most famous and popular symbols of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. This is a huge censer that swings up the aisles of the Cathedral through a pulley system pulled by eight men named tiraboleiros. It weighs 53kg and measures five feet. It is suspended from a height of 20 metres and can reach a speed of 70 miles per hour.
The Botafumeiro is used for liturgical purposes (in the same way as a priest would normally incense the altar) on the following Feast Days:
- The Epiphany of the Lord – 6 January
- Easter Sunday
- The Ascension of the Lord
- The Apparition of the Apostle – 23 May
- Pentecost Sunday
- The Martyrdom of Saint James – 25 July
- Assumption of the Blessed Virgin – 15 August
- All Saints – 1 November
- Christ the King
- Immaculate Conception – 8 December
- Birth of Jesus – 25 December
- Transfer of the body of the Apostle – 30 December
The Botafumeiro may be used on other occasions when groups arrange this.