Neither the cold in Santiago de Compostela nor the pandemic deter people from trying to earn heaven. As tradition marks, in this Jacobean Holy Year, the faithful go to the cathedral to pass through the Holy Door. This only opens during the Compostela Jubilee Holy Year, that is, when July 25, the feast of Santiago Apostol, falls on a Sunday.
Whoever crosses the Holy Door cleanses all his sins.
The Holy Door was opened on December 31. By concession of Pope Francis, it will remain open until the end of 2022.
A piece of news that has been well received by the dean of the Cathedral of Santiago, Segundo Pérez:
“We are very happy because the Holy Father has recognized the work that for so many years we have done here, in the Cathedral of Santiago, welcoming pilgrims from all over the world. It is said that last year pilgrims from 183 countries had arrived”.
Initiative also well received by the public.
“With the issue now of COVID and everything seems fine to me. Good idea. So that people can see it in a safer way, let’s say like this”, says Ana, a visitor from Madrid.
“It seems great to me, it seems great to me and, what’s more, it seems to me an act of justice. As things happened, it seems fair to me”, Fermín affirms.
“Well, maybe it seems to me a little more for economic reasons than for really faith”, assures Carmen.
Joy between small businesses and the hospitality industry
Almost four months of harsh confinement, limited capacity, reduced hours and a total lack of tourists have dealt a fatal blow to small businesses and the hotel industry in a city that lives largely on pilgrims. The affected sectors appreciate a two-year Jacobean.
“We are supporting ourselves because we have a lot of clients from Santiago, but, of course, zero tourists … So, Santiago is a tourist city, without tourism this dies”, explains Ana Cabanas, restorer.
“And it is very important for the sector, both spiritually and for the commercial sector of our country. Undoubtedly, because wherever the Camino (de Santiago) passes it is always a ball of oxygen and it must be remembered that the Camino Santiago was always one of the links of union of the Europe that we know now “, says José Manuel Bello, president of the Merchants of Monumental Compostela.
84.5% fewer pilgrims in Santiago
Due to COVID-19, the number of pilgrims who collected the compostela fell by 84.5% in 2020, according to data from the Pilgrim’s Office. 70% of those who did the Camino de Santiago were Spanish. In 2019, nationals accounted for 45%.
The forecasts for this Jacobean are not good either. It seems difficult that with the pandemic still lurking, the figures for the last Holy Year, in 2010, when 272,135 pilgrims arrived in Santiago, are reached.