The Botafumeiro

Leon to Santiago on "French Way"

One of the most famous and popular symbols of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the Botafumeiro (“incense burner). Hanging by a system of pulleys from the main dome of the Cathedral and swings toward the side naves. Eight men known as “tiraboleiros” are required to swing it. Weighing 53 kg and measuring 1.50 meters hanging from a height of 20 meters. Picking up great speed it is a spectacle to witness.

The purpose of this great censer is to symbolise the true attitude of the believer

In the same way smoke from the incense rises to the top of the temples’ naves, so must the prayers of the pilgrims rises to reach the heart of God. Likewise, in the same manner, the aroma of the incense perfumes the entire basilica, so must Christians, with their virtues and the testimony of their lives, impregnate the good scent of Christ, into the society that they live in.

As a part of the Camino Community, you are bound to be moved by the ceremony.

Regardless of your religious status, it is a sight to behold. A ritual that holds a special place in the hearts of Christian pilgrims who have walked the Camino.

The Botafumeiro operates during the following Solemnities (formal, social ceremonies)
  • 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

The Botafumeiro also operates for pilgrims who request it from the Cathedral. To reserve the Botafumeiro write an email to:

Buen Camino!
Bom Caminho!
Bon Chemin!