Saint James Day

Christians in Spain celebrate the life and deeds of James, the son of Zebedee, on this day. James was one of Jesus' first disciples.  

James was the brother of


John the Apostle.  He may have traveled to what is today known as Santiago de Compostela. 

James was beheaded in Judea in the year 44 CE.  It is possible that his followers transported his body by sea to Padrón on the Galician coast, and then then buried his body under what is now the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.  Bones that are known as the relics of St James' relics were discovered sometime between 791 CE and 842 CE.  Santiago de Compostela then became a place of pilgrimage. 

Pope Leo XIII announced in a papal bull that was published on 1st November 1884 that the relics of St James at Compostela were authentic. 

Before and on Saint James' Day, a number of events are organised in the Basque Country and Galicia.   Special church services are held to honor the life and work of Saint James.  There are also art exhibitions, theatre productions and street shows.  There are even bagpipe performances, and traditional dance events are held outside. 

On this day special services are held in the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. Church officials swing a large incense burner at full speed during this service, so that they fill the whole church with incense smoke.

Last modified on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 07:47

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