Pilgrims’ special day

ONE of the most famous Christian pilgrimages in the world is to Santiago de Compostela, and the Galician city is about to hold its biggest festival of the year.
Around 30,000 pilgrims a year are registered to visit, although the number is thought to be higher as many do the trip unofficially.
Also known as the St James Festival, it is held in the last two weeks of July. Many pilgrims aim to arrive by July 25, St James’s Day. The night before, the highlight of the fortnight for many is held when at midnight crowds gather in the Praza do Obradoiro to view the traditional fireworks and a display projected on to the facade of Santiago Cathedral.
St James is the patron saint of Galicia as well as Santiago de Compostela. So it is not just visitors from around the world but also from all over Galicia who congregate for the festivities.
Modern music, theatre, entertainment and music are combined with traditional religious events with the city’s Old Town being the centre of the cultural activities.
July 25 sees a High Mass – usually attended by one of the Spanish Royal Family. The festival finishes on July 31.

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