Feast Of Saint James The Apostle

The Feast of Saint James the Apostle is a holiday that’s observed in all of Spain but is a public holiday in Galicia. This saint is the patron saint of both Spain and Galicia but is extremely important to the latter because it’s believed that his remains are held at Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia.

Because of its special importance in this autonomous community, this holiday is observed with a large number of festivities. This includes not only special church services, which are common to celebrations in Spain as well, but also street shows, plays, outdoor dance events, and street shows of every sort. This day is observed on July 25th every year.

The History Of The Feast Of Saint James The Apostle

Saint James was a brother of John the Apostle and a son of Zebedee. He lived at the same time that Jesus lived and according to tradition, he may have traveled to the area where Santiago de Compostela now stands.

According to tradition in Galicia, the Virgin Mary appeared to him on the bank of the Ebro River while he was busy spreading the gospel across Iberia. She told James to return to Jerusalem once the church had been established. He did so in 44 AD. On his way back, he visited Mary in Ephesus and she predicted his death in Jerusalem. Not long after he was taken prisoner.

In 44 CE, Saint James was beheaded in Judea. It’s believed by some that his disciples carried his body to Padron on the Galician coast. According to legend, they then buried his body on the spot where Santiago de Compostela Cathedral now stands.

Observing The Feast Of Saint James The Apostle

In most of Spain, this holiday is only an observance, so public life resumes as normal and everything operates on its normal schedule. In Galacia, it is a public holiday that’s a day off for the general population. It’s also a day that’s filled with religious services, street festivals, and almost too many other events to list here.

Where is it celebrated?
Spain (Common local holiday)
When is it?
This year (2023)
July 25 Tuesday
Next year (2024)
July 25 Thursday
Last year (2022)
July 25 Monday