A year is called Ano Xacobeo or Jacobean Year when the Feast of Saint James which is on 25th July falls on a Sunday. This means it is a Holy Year or Jacobean Year on the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrim routes to the tomb of Saint James, in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, in the North West of Spain.
2021 is a Xacobeo Holy Year (the last one took place in 2010) and, due to the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic, Pope Francis has extended its duration so it will last until the end of 2022. What can pilgrims expect during Xacobeo 2021? and what makes a Holy Year special?
Plenary Indulgence or complete forgiveness. This has been granted to pilgrims going to Santiago on Holy Year since 1211, when Pope Calixtus II gave this privilege to Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.
In order to receive plenary indulgence pilgrims must: visit the Cathedral during the Holy Year, say a prayer or attend Holy Mass and confess and take holy communion 15 days before or after their visit to Santiago.
In addition, the Porta Santa, Holy Door of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral on the Praza da Quintana will be the main access for pilgrims. This door is only open during Holy Years and it is opened on the 31st of December. The Holy Door will remain open for the duration of the Xacobeo 2021- 2022.
Many cultural events such as concerts and exhibitions are also due to take place along the Camino de Santiago routes during Xacobeo 2021 and in Santiago de Compostela.
Xacobeo Holy Years only take place every 6, 5, 6 and 11 years and for this reason, generally the number of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago increases dramatically during a Xacobeo Holy Year.
Accommodation availability, particularly during the busiest Summer months and special dates and religious events such as Easter time and Saint James Day, can be limited so if you are considering a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela during Xacobeo 2021 we would recommend you research your trip and make arrangements well in advance.
It is also worth checking the website of the Catedral de Santiago and Pilgrims Office for special events and the latest updates.
We would also recommend that you opt for less known routes, as the Camino Frances is likely to be the busiest particularly in Summer. For instance, you could try the Camino Portugues either the classic route or the coastal option, the Camino Ingles which can be done in just one week, the Camino Primitivo from Lugo or Oviedo if you are looking for challenge or the Camino del Norte.
If you really want to experience the Camino Frances, we would recommend either joining our Camino guided tours with scheduled departures or if you are opting for a self guided Camino tour that you travel in the Spring or Autumn, Fall.
At JWT Sports we have a schedule of Camino guided tours departing in 2021 and 2022, as well as a fantastic selection of self guided tours on the best Camino de Santiago routes. Whether you are travelling on your own or as part of a group, our travel experts can help you decide which route and tour would be the best for you.
If you’d like to experience the Xacobeo Holy Year on the Camino de Santiago why not join our Camino de Santiago guided tours in 2021and 2022 or let us plan your self guided Camino journey? Contact our experienced travel team for advice and start planning your Camino experience.Contact Us