Botafumeiro

After adding Santiago De Compostella to our destinations; we simply had to follow up on an extraordinary event that captures in equal measures ones amusement and bewilderment.

As mentioned in the review an absolute must see event that will leave you speechless happens at certain intervals throughout the year, one falls around the 25th of July for the feast of St James which is during the pilgrimage time of year. The Botafumeiro, or to us lay folk, 'The Giant Swinging Incense Pot' is an 80(ish)kg silver pot of smoking fumes. It is hoisted on an old rope by 8 priests who start pulling in unison.

 

The smoking pot swings higher and higher, faster and faster until it is penduluming the entire width of the mighty cathedral at a speed of about 65km/hr (40.38mph).

This ritual started in the middle ages and purportedly one of the reasons of doing this was to clear the air from the stench of the under-bathed pilgrims who had just hiked their from all over the continent. 

On several occasions in its several hundred year history the hefty incense pot has not gone to plan. On one such occasion it speared through the stained-glass windows and travelled a good distance from the church. This happened to have occurred when a certain queen-to-be was visiting - Princess Catherine of Aragon was travelling to England to marry King Henry the 8th. She was there to bare witness to this event, some say she should have taken it as an omen for her pending marriage. 

*Watch to the end to see the priest take it for a twirling dance to bring it to rest.