I have been to Santiago 3 times, twice on caminos. I have been in the cathedral but never to the service. Unfortunately I am unable to stand in queues for long times because a hip problem. Maybe next year.
@Jennyallan We didn't queue just went to the pilgrim service took a seat and had no idea if it would swing or not. (I understand that this year the Cathedral decided always to do it on a Friday's Pilgrim service). We were very fortunate staying three extra days in Santiago we saw it on the Friday then Sunday was Penticost Sunday, and so it swung again. We were very fortunate !
It is swung during the noon Pilgrim Mass. I have been fortunate to see it once in my first Camino and three times on my second! It is always spectacular to look up to the smoke/incense pouring down on me. The fragrance of grace.
I was told that the Friday Pilgrim service Fridag evening with the Botufumeiro is paid by the local trade of Santiago town.
It cost is several hundred Euros to make it swing and some pilgrims are shocked and horrified of this cost.
The locals told me that the guild handling the incensor has to be paid as well as the incense which is expensive.
I choose to consider it a privilege that somebopdy else is paying for my glee of watching that big silvery objekt performing this perilous journey upwards... mind you the rope has been known to snap, every hundred years or so....
Hola @LindaT I am exactly the opposite: three times 2013, 2015, 2017 to see this dynamic feature of the Cathedral. On at least one of these occasions a group had paid the E500 fee (2015); in 2013 it just a lucky day and in 2017 during the Pilgrims Mass a visiting German Choir sang in both German and Spanish so the Dean had the botofumerio swung as a thank you. From my point of view they were a very good choir. Cheers