Camino Day 50: Mass in Santiago


“My heart is so small, it’s almost invisible.
How can You place such big sorrows in it?
“Look,” He answered, “your eyes are even smaller, yet they behold the world.”

– Jalal ad-Din Muhammed Balkhi (Rumi)

Day 50: Lighting of the Botafumeiro, Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
Day 50: Lighting of the Botafumeiro, Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

Went to the pilgrim mass the evening that I arrived in Santiago. By the time I got there it was standing room only. I am not a religious person, actually quite the opposite. But the mass was very moving. There were two groups of people standing next to me, one from Australia and the other from England. You could tell they were deeply moved with a couple of them getting teary-eyed. I ran into the Australian group the following day and spoke with one of the women. They were not hiking but on vacation. I told her that I had started in Le Puy and she told me about a pilgrimage to the Black Madonna of Czestochowa in Poland. She had visited Czestochowa and although she had not hiked to it, she knew there was a walk associated with this pilgrimage. Sounded interesting and I added it to my mental list of potential future hikes.

Meanwhile, back at the mass. The last few days to Santiago, there had been a lot of speculation about the lighting of the botafumeiro, which appeared to be the highlight of the mass for most pilgrims. Evidently it was not lit at every mass. So, what was the schedule? Which day of the week were you most likely to see it? Heard that you could pay to have it lit. The cost was 200 euros. No, it was 500.

As you can see from picture. It was lit at the conclusion of the mass I attended. You can see the smoke from the botafumeiro but the highlight of this picture are all the cell phones and a few tablets shooting away.

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