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Botafumiero Schedule

Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Based on the information in the Pilgrim Office website, I understand the Botafumiero is used on specific religious holidays and individual/groups can request (and pay) for the Botafumiero to be swung at other times. My questions relates to the later; how do you find out when the Botafumiero will be swung? I assume an individual/group must reserve this in advance. Is it just luck that you are at a mass and the Botafumiero is used?
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
how do you find out when the Botafumiero will be swung? I assume an individual/group must reserve this in advance. Is it just luck that you are at a mass and the Botafumiero is used?
Yes, I believe that it is just luck, though a couple of years ago I did one of the free walking tours in Santiago, and my tour guide got tipped off that the Botafumeiro would swing that day.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I do not walk when there are a high volume of Pilgrims. For me it is one of the advantages of retirement. I usually spend 2-3 days in Santiago. If I arrive early like I did last year when I stayed in Lavacolla the night before I peaked into the Cathedral to see if the Big One was hanging or not. It wasn't. The next day I went to the Pilgrim Mass. Still was a small one and didn't stay for it. My last day I peaked in again and again no big Botafumiero just a smaller one. So I went to my favorite shop that I buy my wife and daughters their camino gifts. (Wish I could remember the name of it as they have really beautiful sweaters, and jewelry, bought some things and stuffed them in my pack and walked down to the bus station to go to Porto to meet my older daughter.
For a contribution of (I think it is) 600 Euros they will swing the big one for you.
 

Old Bamboo

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF, Francigena, KumanoKodo,Benedetto, Iseji, Assisi, Kunisaki, Shikoku 88 (1~24), Kohechi,Dajia Mazu
In 2016 it was done only on Fridays unless someone paid for a special swinging.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Sometimes you are lucky and see it; sometimes not. I happened to see it swing when I completed my 1989 Camino. When I walked in 2016 with my son, we went to a couple of the masses but it didn't appear. In 2018, I saw it at least twice after my Camino Portugues. It used to be swung at least weekly. Now it is only guaranteed on certain holidays. The only masses that are guaranteed to have the botafumeiro (except during renovations that prevent it, of course) are:
  • The Epiphany: 6 January
  • Resurrection Sunday
  • The Apparition of the Apostle-Clavijo: 23 May
  • Pentecost
  • The Martyrdom of Saint James: 25 July
  • The Assumption of Mary: 15 August
  • All Saints: 1 November
  • Christ the King
  • The Immaculate Conception: 8 December
  • Christmas: 25 December
  • Transfer of the remains of the Apostle: 30 December
That said, as others report, it is possible to pay to have the botafumeiro swung (except during renovations). This costs several hundred euros and needs to be arranged in advance. To reserve the botafumeiro, you need to send an email to: botafumeiro@catedraldesantiago.es. While that's a lot for one person, if you are walking with a large "pilgrim family" and willing to split the cost, it may end up being something you can afford and if seeing the botafumeiro is important to you, it may be worth it. One advantage of reserving the botafumeiro is that it also reserves your group some prime seating in the cathedral for the mass. :)
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
In 2016 it was done only on Fridays unless someone paid for a special swinging.
It was swung on Saturday 8th October as well as Friday 7th in 2016. To the best of my knowledge, it was not a special swinging. The first special swinging I saw was in 2013. The people (Canadians) who paid also got special seats behind the red ropes. But then I have been very lucky. Walked into Santiago 3 times and seen it swung twice each time. Arrived as a tourist on two occasions and seen it on one of those trips
 

4 Eyes

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF from SJPP 14, VDLP from Seville 15, DN&P from Irun 16, Portuguese from Lisbon 17, CF from SJPP 18
Have seen it swing many times, the biggest most elaborate one I saw was during the Day of Assumption of Mary. The other ones were either the regular Friday 6:00 mass ones, or the specially arranged ones. The specially arranged ones I learned of ahead of time from Cathedral volunteers or staff I befriended, or through word of mouth from other pilgrims. So do not hesitate to ask. People will tell you.
 
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.

Mycroft

Active Member
Have seen it swing many times, the biggest most elaborate one I saw was during the Day of Assumption of Mary. The other ones were either the regular Friday 6:00 mass ones, or the specially arranged ones. The specially arranged ones I learned of ahead of time from Cathedral volunteers or staff I befriended, or through word of mouth from other pilgrims. So do not hesitate to ask. People will tell you.
Some years back when I first arrived in Santiago and went to the cathedral, I asked if there were plans for the botafumiero to be used in the next few days. I was told absolutely none. Disappointing. The following day I was touring the cathedral museum, and speaking with a museum guard who told me of a recent theft of art work from the museum. I glanced over to the far end of the portico where we were (on the second floor as I recall), and there were two friars/monks/priests walking toward us with a pole slung on their shoulders, hauling this large botafumeriera to its resting place. I was dumbstruck--for a moment, and then asked why it was out at all. Turned out there was a lawyers' conference going on in Santiago and they had paid the fee to have it swung during their mass. Why the church representative had confidently told me there was no plan in the near future for it to be used, I do not know, since even masses where a private party has paid for the privilege, the public may attend the service. Happily for me, those young bearers patiently waited whith the pole digging into their shoulders while I snapped a few photos. While I very much enjoyed visiting the museum, I would have gladly put it off to the following day in order to attend mass and see that silver angel fly.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances/SJPP '15,'16,'18,'19,('20)
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
6 Camino's arriving in Santiago, twice in May, once June, once July, once Sept and once in Oct. and saw it every time. It seems that more often than not, one of the tour companies is paying for it.
 

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