St. James's Day

St. James's Day

July 25 in the Western Church; April 30 in the Eastern Church
The Apostle James the Great (d. 44) was martyred by Herod. Also known as Santiago, he is the patron saint of Spain. His feast day is celebrated in the Western Church on July 25, the anniversary of the day on which, according to Spanish tradition, his body was miraculously discovered in Compostela, Spain, after being buried there for 800 years. A church was built on the site, which later became the town of Santiago de Compostela, once a place of pilgrimage second only to Jerusalem and Rome. St. James's Day is still celebrated in Compostela with a weeklong festival that features a mock burning of the 12th-century cathedral and an elaborate fireworks display.
The Indian pueblos of New Mexico, which were the target of early Spanish missionary efforts, also observe St. James's Day. At the Fiestas de Santiago y Santa Ana, held annually in the Taos Pueblo on July 25 and 26 (or the nearest weekend), the corn dance is performed in honor of both St. James and St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary, whose feast day follows Santiago Day. Ritual dances also take place in the Santa Ana, Laguna, and Cochiti pueblos. At Acoma Pueblo, Santiago's Day is celebrated by holding a rooster pull.
In Loíza, Puerto Rico, the Fiesta of St. James the Apostle or Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol is the biggest celebration of the year. It focuses on three images of the saint—the Santiago de los Muchachos (St. James of the Children), the Santiago de los Hombres (St. James of the Men), and the Santiago de las Mujeres (St. James of the Women)—which are carried from the homes of the mantenedoras (keepers) who have kept guard over them all year to a place near the sea known as Las Carreras, "the racetracks."
Santiago de los Hombres begins the procession, stopping in front of the house where another saint is kept. This second image joins the first and the procession continues until all three end up at Las Carreras, where the traditional ceremony of racing with the flags of the saints takes place. Farm workers and fishermen dress in traditional costumes and perform music and dances of African origin. St. James's Day is also a popular choice for baptisms and marriages.
His feast day in the Eastern Church is April 30.
CONTACTS:
Puerto Rico Tourism Company
666 Fifth Ave., Fl. 15
New York, NY 10103
800-866-7827 or 212-586-6262; fax: 212-586-1212
www.gotopuertorico.com
Galicia Consellería de Cultura, Communicacion Social e Turismo
Pavillon de Galicia-San Lazaro
Santiago de Compostela, 15703 Spain
34-981-572-004
www.xacobeo.es
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. S.E.
Washington, DC 20540
202-707-5510; fax: 202-707-2076
www.loc.gov
SOURCES:
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 189
DictFolkMyth-1984, pp. 963, 971, 1063, 1111
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 152
FestWestEur-1958, p. 202
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 313
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 448
IndianAmer-1989, pp. 287, 309, 319
OxYear-1999, pp. 306, 307
References in periodicals archive ?
The Archbishop took as his text the story of James and John confronted with Jesus' question: 'Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?' - the text that was preached 125 years ago to the day - St. James's Day - in Durham Cathedral at the consecration of the first Bishop of Newcastle.