Compostela celebrates every year the Festivities of the Apostle Santiago, a festivity that keeps a centenary tradition. During the second fortnight of July, homage is paid to this saint who makes the capital of Galicia famous with numerous events and activities: theatres, concerts, competitions and parades make this commemoration one of the main attractions of the target city of this universal pilgrimage route which is the Camino de Santiago. As the patron saint of the municipality, Galicia and all of Spain, the celebration is also an important tourist attraction and has a great history, as the offering to this saint has been made since 1643.
The celebration combines different programs, including shows for adults and children to enjoy. Despite the fact that the 24th and 25th are the most important days, the events take place several days earlier and last until the end of the month. As stated in the official programme, this year we will be able to enjoy these festivities from 17 to 31 July. This will be two weeks in which a series of smaller formats will prevail in order to guarantee the safety of all the public. The situation generated by the health crisis of the covid has forced changes in the Galician festival par excellence but, despite everything, will continue to be held to revive the cultural and tourism sector, promote local artists and offer residents various alternatives to enjoy leisure.
According to the Festivities Department of the Council of Santiago, it will be essential to establish the necessary health protocols to prevent contagion. Therefore, in the Apostle’s Festivities, events such as the festival of light in the Praza do Obradoiro or the massive musical shows will be dispensed with. Instead, the capacity of all the activities will be limited, to which it will be necessary to go half an hour before and with a mask. In addition, it will be necessary to make a reservation through reservas.gal to guarantee the control of the capacity.
In the case of the famous fireworks, whose launch will be held on the night of 24 July from 23.30, this year there will be an important novelty. The pyrotechnic show will take place from 8 different points in the city in order to comply with health measures and ensure social distance, but at the same time allowing it to be seen by residents and visitors. These places will be the Cidade da Cultura, Santa Susana, escalade of the Parque de Carlomagno (Fontiñas), the Campo da festa of Amio, Monte de Deus, Luis Pasí park, Eugenio Granell park, the Almáciga, Granxa do Xesto and Casas Novas. In this way, the public will be able to enjoy the pyrotechnic show in a more organized way, being distributed throughout the municipality. The Santiago City Council also attributes this decision to the poor condition of the roof of the Consistory last year, after the fires were launched from the Obradoiro.
On July 25th, Galicia Day is celebrated. This is the main day of the festivity, in which the offering to the Apostle Santiago is made, one of the most important figures of Christianity and source of inspiration for the pilgrimage route to which it gives its name. Next year, as the 25th is a Sunday, it will be a Holy Year and Galicia will celebrate it in style with the Xacobeo 2021. It has been a decade since this event took place, so it will be the perfect opportunity to undertake the Camino, as the Church grants a plenary indulgence and the Holy Door opens, giving access to the cathedral.
Being one of the most outstanding celebrations at a national level, the Apostle Santiago’s festivities join every year an important number of people around its religious and cultural events. Although on this occasion it will not be possible to celebrate with the usual intensity, the Galician capital will keep intact the essence of these celebrations that leave their mark.