san james y santiago

San James y Santiago

This fiesta is in honor of St. James, the patron saint of Spain and of Galicia in particular. It was in Spain where this fisherman is said to have preached and where his transformation occurred.

In the year 841 at the Battle of Clavijo, between the Christians and Moors, St. James appeared on the battlefield on a horse adorned with scallop shells. Legend claims that he himself slew 60,000 Moors and in his honor, the Order of St. James the Sword was established (Santiago de Espada). St. James later also became known as the saint of the conquistadors.

Santiago de Compostela was the place where legend says the body of St. James was miraculously sanctified. And as his relics were being transported from Jerusalem (where he died) to Spain, a Portuguese rider and his horse fell into the sea. Upon being rescued, the rider's clothing was covered with scallop shells - as had been decorated St. James's horse.

Pilgrims from around the world cross the country on foot until they reach the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela where both ancient and modern traditions are commemorated. As worldwide interest in pilgrimage tourism grows, more people have become able to experience this unique part of Spanish history.

Carnival groups, street parties, concerts, giant papiérmâché heads and fireworks are the main highlights of this week-long event.

Festival Dates

spain flag July 25th San James y Santiago
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