The Significance and Rituals of The Jacobean Year – Camino de Santiago

A Jacobean year is regarded as the Holy or a Jubilee year for Camino enthusiasts. A year is considered to be a Jacobean year when Saint James Day happens to fall on a Sunday. The day of the Saint is on 25th July. The pilgrims increase tremendously on the Camino de Santiago in July on Holy years, and they arrive for the celebrations of Saint James Day.

Two facts on the Camino de Santiago make a Jacobean Year very special for pilgrims:

  • In Santiago’s Cathedral the Holy Door, the Porta Santa, opens only for Jacobean years. It is located in Praza da Quintana it is kept open for the entire year. The official opening of the Holy Door is on 31st December, the last day of the earlier year.
  • Complete lenience to forgive sins can be obtained. However, to qualify, there is a necessity that the pilgrims pray in the Cathedral and also attend Mass. They also should have shared confession within 15 days before the trip or after visiting the Cathedral. 

If the pilgrims are disabled and cannot continue to Santiago de Compostela, seeking the lenience to forgive sins can be done in Villafranca del Bierzo. This is because here also the forgiveness door stays open during the Holy Year. The Holy Year’s pattern changes owing to leap years. 2010 was the Jacobean Year, and the next will be in 2021, and it will be followed by 2027, and later it will be 2031. The pattern is 6:5:6:11 years.

Current Specifications

The requirements now have undergone modifications, and the granting of grace conditions have changed. Now the qualifications essential to attain forgiveness for your sins include:

  • It is not necessary to reach the Cathedral of Santiago on foot, and there is no need to complete certain kilometers on the Camino.  However, there are no hard rules now on visiting times, and you can visit the temple on any day during the period of the Holy Year.
  • You can now enter the Puerta Santa and also attend the Mass of the pilgrims that are organized at 12.00 every day in the Holy year in the Cathedral. Bear in mind these terms are not a regulation; it is your choice.
  • There is a need to say a prayer for the Roman Pontiff’s intentions (Our Father or The Creed).
  • It is a must to attend communion and confession on the same day on entering the Compostela temple or even fifteen days after or earlier, even elsewhere, if you must.
  • Leniency in seeking forgiveness may be acquired any day, once, and this may be off-set to individuals who were faithful and are no more.

In 1982, the Pope visited Spain, and in 1993 he attended the Xacobeo receiving firm backup from the council. This has made the Santiago and Camino a famous pilgrim site. The pilgrims have increased steadily, and it is observed that in 2010 there were 272, 135 pilgrims visited Compostela.

About the author