El Botafumeiro is one of the most well-known symbols of the Cathedral and the St James Way. Its origins lead back to the Middle Age as a purification instrument of the Cathedral where multitudes would gather around.
It is a large incense burner which swings through the lateral nave of the Cathedral through a pulley system thrust by eight men called ¨tiraboleiros¨.
El Botafumeiro weighs 53 kg and is one and a half metres tall. It can fly up to 20, metres and it can reach a speed of 70 kilometres per hour. Due to the speed and the weight it can gain a high energy.
In all its history it has only fallen three times: once in the presence of Catalina de Aragón in 1499, it detached, and it fell through the Puerta de Platerias, a second time that it burst out and reached the chestnut seller (tells the tale) in 1622 and last at the beginning of the XX century, it fell on someone who seemed to be too close to see how it worked.
El Botafumeiro can be admired in the solemn mass. The rest of the days a smaller copy of the original is used and displayed and is known with the name of La Alcachofa.
In the present year 2018 the restoration of the interior of the Cathedral will oblige to limit the capacity of the visitors and limit the timetables of the mass in the Basilica. It is still unknown the moment of the year when these limitations will take place. What is known is that the morning worship from Monday to Friday will have to be canceled, although the midday Pilgrim Mass will be moved to the neighboring church of San Francisco, considering that it is perfect because it is next to the Cathedral and is fit for great capacity. It is also foreseen that San Martiño Pinario will also open occasionally to take in special celebrations.
On weekends the Apostolic temple will return to normal in the activity with the current timetable. The evening worship, including the Pilgrim Mass, will remain, except in exceptional cases, during all the period of the restoration.
This process of restoration will also affect the functioning of El Botafumeiro when the work reaches the transept, although the Cathedral has designed an informative plan to make public the effects of the works through the internet in advance. Except for exceptional moments, the visit to embrace the Apostle and the crypt will follow its normal timetable.
Festivities functioning of El Botafumeiro:
-Epiphany: January 6th
-Apparition of Clavijo Apostle: May 23rd
-El Martirio de Santiago: July 25th
-The Assumption of Virgin Mary: August 15th
-All Saints day: November 1st
-Immaculate Conception: December 8th
-Christmas Day: December 25th
-Transfer of mortal remains of the Apostle: December 30th
El Botafumeiro can also function in a Pilgrimage if it is requested to the Cathedral.
From January 2017 it does not function all Fridays of the year (except Holy Friday), during the mass at 19:30h as ¨Offering to the Pilgrim¨, if not only in the dates indicated above or by request