Holy Year 2021

At Magic Hill Holidays, we are really looking forward to the Holy Year in 2021 on the Camino de Santiago, also known as Xacobeo 2021.

2021 will be a very special year to walk the Camino to Santiago de Compostela and pilgrims can expect a memorable experience filled with hope, happiness and spirituality.

What is a Holy Year?

Holy Years on the St James Way happen when Saint James Day (25th July) falls on a Sunday. This occurs every 6, 5, 6 and 11 years. The last Holy Year was in 2010 and the next is in 2021. 

Why is it special?

In 1122 Pope Calixtus II gave the Archdiocese of Santiago the privilege of granting a “plenary indulgence” or the absolution of all of sins. Receiving this indulgence requires that you walk to Santiago, pass through the Holy Door of Santiago Cathedral, confess your sins, receive Holy Communion, pray for the Pope and for your intentions during a Holy Year. Once this is done, you will be forgiven for all your sins and able to enter Heaven without having to go to Purgatory first. 

1126 was the first year in which the Holy Year was celebrated, making Santiago de Compostela the third jubilee city in the world, just behind Rome and Jerusalem. Later, in 1178, Pope Alexander III declared that the privilege granted by Pope Calixto II would become perpetual, which secured the future of the Jacobean Route for centuries and the numbers of pilgrims travelling all over Europe to Santiago de Compostela until the protestant reformation of the 16th century.

The opening of the Holy Door

To open the Holy Door, located on the east side of the Cathedral on Praza da Quintana, the Archbishop of Compostela performs an ancient ritual that is witnessed by hundreds of pilgrims and church members. The ritual consists of striking a wall of slabs covering the Holy Door three times with a silver hammer. Once the wall falls, the Archbishop cleans the perimeters of the Door with holy water and olive branches. It is he who first crosses through the Holy Door. This ritual takes place every 31 December of the year preceding the Holy Year and is performed every 31 December of the Holy Year itself to close the Door.

Thinking of walking the Camino in 2021?

If you are considering walking the Camino on the Holy Year 2021, we would encourage you to start planning your trip as soon as possible as Holy Years attract higher numbers of pilgrims than non Holy Years. As there is limited accommodation along popular Camino routes, we recommend to book early so that we can secure accommodation ensuring you get the unique and memorable experience you are looking for.

What Camino route should I walk?

All Camino routes can be walked during the Holy Year. However, if you want to obtain the Compostela during the Holy Year, we recommend you walk the last 100-120kms of any of the Camino routes into Santiago. The most popular section is the French Way from Sarria however this will be busy so we cannot guarantee accommodation availability on this route.

For quieter routes, we recommend you consider the English Way from Ferrol or A Coruña, the Portuguese Way from Tui, the Northern Way from Vilalba or the Primitive Way from Lugo. Click on this link, to find the right Camino route for you – there is a Camino routes to suit everyones requirements and fitness level.

For more information about the Camino or to book your Camino trip, contact our travel specialists on +353 1 442 8921 or email us on info@magichillholidays.com.