The Feast of St. James

Galacia, Spain Regional Holiday in Galicia, Spain

Obradoiro square in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia (Spain) Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

When is the Feast of St. James?

How long until St. James' Day?
This holiday next takes place in 96 Days.
Dates of St. James' Day
Year Weekday Date
2020 Saturday July 25th
2019 Thursday July 25th
2018 Wednesday July 25th
2017 Tuesday July 25th
2016 Monday July 25th
Basque Country, Cantabria, Galicia
1 Day
St. James is the patron saint of Galicia as well as Spain

July 25 is the feast of St. James, patron saint of Spain.

July 25 is also Galicia Day, which is fitting as St. James is the patron saint of Galicia as well as Spain. According to legend, his remains are held in the Santiago de Compostela cathedral in Galicia.

History of the Feast of St. James

In 2019, St. James' Day is a regional public holiday in Basque Country, Cantabria, Galicia.

James was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. Following the ascension of Jesus, the apostles traveled spreading the word of the gospel. James' travels took him to Spain, Initially his sermons were not well received - even being taken prisoner in Grenada. However he was soon released and went on to preach in Galicia.

According to local tradition, in January 40AD, the Virgin Mary appeared to James on the bank of the Ebro River, while he was preaching the Gospel in Iberia. She appeared upon a pillar, which remains today and is venerated within the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, in Zaragoza. She told James to return to Jerusalem once the church had been established.

James went back to Jerusalem in 44AD, as Mary had wished. During the trip back he visited Mary in Ephesus. Mary predicted his death in Jerusalem, and on his return to Jerusalem, he was soon taken prisoner.

He was taken to Calvary, the same place where years before Jesus had been crucified. He was then tied to the rocks, blindfolded and beheaded.

The body of James was taken by his disciples back to Galicia. His remains are said to be buried in the cathedral in Galicia.

How is Feast of St. James celebrated?

Popularised in the ninth century, many pilgrims from across Europe, walk the "Camino de Santiago" (way of St. James) which leads them to the saint's tomb, to ask pardon for their sins.

Today, pilgrims still arrive at the Cathedral for the holy Feast Day of St James. On the eve of the Feast day, a spectacular show of fireworks, music and lasers illuminate the cathedral.

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