We were so delighted to experience botafumeiro. It was a Friday nite 7.30 pilgrim mass. It really is a beautiful end to the Camino. Thank you
I had seen the movice of the botafumeiro and was determined to experience it completely. We arrived 2 hours before the pilgrim's mass which we knew would end with the botafumeiro (check before you go), and we sat in the front row. We brought a book along to read, but we ended swapping camino stories with the people around us. When the time came, it was breathtaking. We could clearly see the 8 men working hard to get the botafumeiro in the air and it swung so close to us that we could feel the swoosh as it went by, going higher and higher, further and further. Our Camino was complete, and we were tingling for hours thereafter.
Inside the cathedral, at the end of the mess, 5 men are necessary to control the "botafumeiro" in silver, where the incense is burning, and swing it at an angle of 45º...
The opportunity to see the botafumeiro in action was one of several key drivers as we made our way along the Camino into Santiago. On our day of arrival, we, along with hundreds of others, attended the midday pilgrim's mass and whilst moved by it all, were disappointed the botafumeiro was not in action that day. On enquiring at the Cathedral office when it might next be seen, we are advised a tour group had "commissioned" it for a special service the following morning, which we were able to attend. The "spectacle" complete with organ music, whilst I suspect might not fully reflect religious values, (it is said the incense was used to diffuse the scent of weary long distance travellers) was nevertheless most memorable and a highlight of our journey..
The largest thurible or incense burner in the world actually still in use the sight of this monster being brought to life by a gang of men is something not to be missed.It is hauled into life at the end of the 19:30pm Friday Mass with great aplomb and reaches the high roof of the Cathedral of Santiago with a single swing.It is forbidden to take photographs while the Mass is celebrated but tolerated when the Botafumeiro is in motion.I would urge all to take the Mass and experience this once in a lifetime scene of old world Catholic devotion.
Don't take this the wrong way, but I think seeing the botafumeiro is the wrong reason to go to mass or to visit the cathedral. I've heard of atheists hugging the saint and staying for mass to see the botafumeiro. Arriving before noon is the goal of pilgrims, and attending mass to give thanks for family and friends and a safe trip is usually why people squeeze into the pews to get comfortable. Pilgrims arrive carrying their knapsacks and sticks. Smiling faces abound. Confessionals are set up with various languages listed on each one. I've heard that it costs $500 to have the botafumeiro swung, if it was not a day that it is planned to be swung. Cameras are going off everywhere while it swings. I've been there four times and it swung all four masses.For whatever reason people go to see this huge incense burner, it is an awesome sight to behold. I'd recommend it to everyone. I loved it each time. Seeing so many men swinging it, watching the delight on visitors' faces, and feeling my own pounding heart- all great reasons to see the botafumeiro each day while in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHsenK-vrnsAt the end of the pilgrim mass six red-coated tiranoleiros swing the might botafumeiro! A truly amazing sight to be experienced in person!
The botafumeiro normally takes place on a Friday, however, we just happened to be in the long queue at the Pilgrim's Office, waiting to finalise our pilgrimage, when some young German's walked the queue asking if anyone would donate to the 300 euro fee they would pay to have it take place that night. We put in a little, as did many others and it seems they obtained enough as we were fortunate enough to experience the botafumeiro that night.It was as magical and ethereal and holy as you can imagine. Truly felt like a very special moment and an amazing end to our pilgrimage. We were amazed at the speed and the obvious weight of the vessel itself, needing 7 or 8 men to help ensure it swung its way across the cathedral. The smell of the incense wasn't noticeable until after the mass, when we could walk around again. We weren't too far back from the altar either, so were a little surprised that it wasn't stronger, but the smoke was very visible. Despite people being asked not to take photo's, everyone was taking them, so that took away from some of the ambience, but who can blame them for what might be a once in a lifetime opportunity.Do get their early to sit as close to the front as you can. Don't talk or photograph through the service if you aren't Christian. Do sit quietly and relish every moment of being so blessed as to be able to be here with the locals, pilgrims, relics of Saint James and of course, God!
We watched the botafumeiro today and definitely this is something i will never forget.... The experience was amazing and we felt a holly spirit inside..... Must come again...
Fantastic experience, awsome moment when the Botafumiero begins its way across the transept. At the end of the Camino it seals the experience.
We had the good luck of seeing the botafumeiro on a special occasion. It was an unforgettable experience. It led you back to times when symbols meant more to everyone.
if you are lucky enough to see it as not on every day anymore. definitely a "don't miss " also try to book a rooftop tour
Great way to finish your Camino de Santiago experience. Make sure to check!!! The days that the ceremony will be conducted!!!
a must to see at the end of your pilgrimage. Don' t arrive too late, it s crowdy.Many people with cameras troubled the mass, please don t be one of them!
I went to Santiago de Compostela with my mum for a weekend in October. We went for a walk around the town on Saturday afternoon and just got to the Cathedral when there was a mass there but just about to finish. Obviously there were quite many people there but there was nobody queuing to St Jacob's tomb and we were so lucky to be completely alone and could stand behind the altar to watch the full swing of Botafumeiro....a breathtaking experience.. When we went there on Sunday to attend the popular Pilgrim Mass, the place was completely packed.