2021: Holy Jubilee Year for the Camino de Santiago
Following a year which saw the fewest pilgrims arriving in Santiago de Compostela in more than a decade due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, many are preparing to walk the Way in what will be a very special and important year: the 2021 Holy Year (Jubilee Year) for the Camino de Santiago.
WHAT IS THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO HOLY YEAR OR JUBILEE YEAR?
In the years in which the Feast of St. James (25th July) falls on a Sunday, that year is celebrated as a Holy Year. Holy Years in Santiago may also be called a Jacobian or Xacobeo Year.
Following the Gregorian calendar, the Holy Year in Santiago will be every 6, 5, 6, and 11 years. The last Holy Year was in 2010 and the next is in 2021. Future Holy Years on the Camino de Santiago will be 2027, 2032, 2038, and 2049.
HOW IS THE HOLY YEAR OR JUBILEE YEAR SPECIAL FOR THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO?
In 1122 Pope Calixtus II gave the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral the privilege of granting a plenary indulgence to those who visited the shrine of the Apostle during the Holy Year. This is recorded in the Bull, Regis Aeterni, issued by Pope Alexander III in 1179.
During Holy Years, pilgrims completing the Camino de Santiago may enter the Cathedral through the “Holy Door”, which is opened only during those years.
With the promise of plenary indulgence and the opening of the Holy Door, the number of pilgrims walking the Camino during the Holy Year is quite high – often twice or more greater than in other years.
WHAT IS THE HOLY DOOR AT THE SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA CATHEDRAL?
Opened only during Holy Years, the Holy Door at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela is a small entrance opening into the rear of the Cathedral, almost directly before the tomb of St. James.
According to the Gospel, Jesus said, “I am the door; he who enters through me shall be saved.” (John 10:9) Pilgrims who pass through the Holy Door – regardless of their faith or backgrounds – receive the plenary indulgence, absolved of all sin, and forgiven in the eyes of God.
HOW IS THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO DIFFERENT DURING A HOLY YEAR?
The number of pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago during a Holy Year is generally much greater than in other years. Often there are twice as many pilgrims or more making the Camino pilgrimage.
The volume of pilgrims may create unique opportunities for brotherhood as well as infrastructure challenges to support the increased number of pilgrims, such as finding sufficient accommodations during the Holy Year.
HOW IS THE HOLY YEAR DIFFERENT DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC ?
The Holy Year has been extended (now Holy Years) through 2022 to allow pilgrims who may not be able to safely travel to Santiago de Compostela in 2021 to arrive through 2022 to celebrate the Holy Year.
WHICH ROUTES MAY HAVE THE MOST PILGRIMS DURING A HOLY YEAR?
The most popular pilgrimage routes to Santiago during the Holy Year are:
- Camino Frances – entire route but particularly the last 100km from Sarria
- Camino Portugues – the last 100km from Tui
- Camino de Norte – the last 100km from Vilalba
Especially during a Holy Year, Santiago de Compostela is busiest on July 25th – the Feast Day of St. James. The number of pilgrims walking the Camino is usually greatest around this time and lesser after July.
WHICH ROUTES MAY HAVE FEWER PILGRIMS DURING A HOLY YEAR?
While greater than in other years, relatively fewer pilgrims may walk the Camino de Santiago along these routes:
- Camino Primitivo – the “original” route from Oviedo to Santiago
- Camino Ingles – the English Route to Santiago
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
- Charging your Phone, Headphones, and Battery on the Camino de Santiago
- Online Compostela Requests for the Camino de Santiago – 2022
- Where are the Apostles of Jesus Buried?
- Key Differences Between the Camino de Santiago and Via Francigena
- How Much Does it Cost to Walk the Camino de Santiago?
- How To: Train to Walk the Camino de Santiago
- A Beginner’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago
- CAMINO 101: HOW TO PREVENT BLISTERS HIKING THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
- CAMINO 101: The Pilgrim Routes on the Camino de Santiago
- Layering Ultralight Clothing for Pilgrimage Backpacking
- CAMINO 101: Five Mobile Phone Apps for Pilgrims Walking the Camino de Santiago
- CAMINO 101: Should you take a sleeping bag on the Camino de Santiago?
- CAMINO 101: The Pilgrim Passport
- CAMINO 101: 3-Month Training Plan for Walking the Camino De Santiago
- CAMINO 101: How many days to walk the Camino de Santiago?
- CAMINO 101: What is an Albergue and Where Do I Sleep on the Camino de Santiago?
- CAMINO 101: How to Sleep Comfortably on the Camino de Santiago
- CAMINO 101: How Much does it Cost to Walk the Camino de Santiago?
- PILGRIM RESOURCES FOR COVID-19
- 2021: Holy Jubilee Year for the Camino de Santiago
- Walking the Last 100KM of the Camino de Santiago
- The Top Hiking GPS Apps for iPhone and Android
- The Best Camino De Santiago Podcasts
- Packing List: My Recommended Gear for Walking the Camino de Santiago
- HOW TO: Follow Trail Markers and Trail Blazes in Europe
- Key Differences between the California Missions Trail and Camino de Santiago
- PACKING LIST: Trekking The World
- Review: Osprey Manta 34L Backpack
- PACKING LIST: Backpacking First-Aid Kit
- HOW TO: Make Your Own Camino Backpack Shell
- PACKING LIST: First-Aid Kit for Blisters and Foot Care
- HOW TO: Five Tips for Urban Hiking
- Recommended Apps and Maps for Camino de Santiago
- Where was “The Way” filmed along the Camino de Santiago?
- How To: Select a Backpack for the Camino de Santiago
- Why is the Scallop Shell the Symbol of the Camino de Santiago?
- How To: Sleep Peacefully on the Camino de Santiago
- The Best Hiking Poles for the Camino de Santiago
- Review: Sea to Summit Coolmax Adaptor Traveller Liner with Insect Shield
Husband. Father. Backpacker. Pilgrim. Author.
After years of section hiking the Florida Trail and Appalachian Trail, I set out in 2019 to complete the Camino de Santiago through Portugal and Spain. The experience changed the direction of my life and I’ve been walking in pilgrimage ever since. My recent journeys include the California Mission Walk and England’s Pilgrims’ Way from London to Canterbury. I’m currently walking sections of the Via Francigena through Europe to Rome.