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Run for Botafumeiro

It took me awhile to understand how powerful experience it was for me. And that's because I was lucky to see this huge censer rocking across the cathedral with my own eyes. I have heard many about the noon mass held in honor of all the pilgrims who perform the Holy Trinity pilgrimage to Spanish Compostela and have unconsciously longed to participate in it as well. Eventually, with all my efforts, I arrived at Compostela nearly falling to physical collapse at 10:30 am after I had completed a 5-hour march from Padron. It was a strange feeling when you realize that after almost 700 km you can finally stop. Your heart is pounded with emotions and your eyes are poured with tears. No matter whether you did the pilgrimage as a believer, a tourist, or someone who is lost in today's world and needs to find a way. And all this will be my book, the first lines of which I started writing at the beginning of my journey, without knowing at that moment.

I pulled out the phone and called the one person with whom I wanted to talk so much. Unfortunately, the phone only elicited eagerly and the joy for a moment replaced grief. But I actually wanted to write about a censer, right? So, let's get it. But everything gradually. What makes the famous censer in Compostela so strange? And why is it called Botafumeiro? Refer to the video at the end of this article. I'm going into the cathedral pretty soon. Fortunately, the benches are empty, and I will soon find a place on one of the front benches. About 10 meters ahead of me is the famous censer, a height of 1.6 meters and weighing 80 kilograms and everyone call this censer "Botafumeiro", which in Galician literally means "emits smoke". A gorgeous showcase of masterpiece made of brass and bronze alloy, covered with a very thin layer of silver. This censer replaced the original, which was installed in the cathedral in 1554 and whose purchase was funded by the French King Ludwig XI. It was so beautiful that, unfortunately, in 1809 was stolen by Napoleon's soldiers during the Spanish Independence War. The current one was installed in 1851 and José Losada is the creator.

During the Mass, which begins exactly at 12:00, I suffer a bit. My 30 km morning walk and the getting up during the mass and the legs are hurting. I cannot wait and when I look forward and see the "tiraboleiros" I am delighted. Botafumeiro wears and sways eight men - "tiraboleiros" - in red robes. The term "tiraboleiro" is a Galician word derived from the Latin word "turifer", meaning "incense bearer". The word "turifer" also derives its English equivalent "thurifer". This word is composed of the Latin words "thus", meaning "incense," and "fero" or "bear". In Spanish there is a comparable term "turiferario". And thanks to these men, the performance I was looking forward to is starting to look forward to.

Botafumeiro is hung on the pulley in the dome of the cathedral roof. The current pulley was installed in 1604. Shovels are used to fill Botafumeira. To the censer is added about 40 kg of charcoal and incense. The centipede is tied to the rope by complex nodes. It is suppressed first to move. Subsequently, eight "tiraboleiros", dressed in red, pull the ropes, causing the cavalier to swing more and more. The centipede almost touches the ceiling of the transept when swinging. It can reach a speed of 68 km / h, releasing dense smoke of incense. At the highest point of deflection, Botafumeiro reaches a height of 21 m. It sways in a 65-meter arc between the Azabachería and Platerías passages at the ends of the transept. The maximum angle reached is about 82 °. This maximum can be achieved after approximately 17 cycles and requires about 80 seconds of swing. The censer emits a lot of smoke. This is in line with the saying known in religious circles: "More incense, less nonsense."

It was an incredible experience. I imagined how many pilgrims did this pilgrimage, and the whole cathedral was filled with love and joy. When the bishop greeted all of them to give their hands, they all began to rejoice, embrace and wish all things good. At that moment, I believed that good still exists. By the way, former pilgrims who were coming to the cathedral were tired and unwell. It was also believed that incense smoke had a protective effect in times of plague and epidemics. Of course, burning incense is also an important part of the liturgy as a "talk to God" or a form of prayer. At the end of the ceremony, Botafumeiro was taken by the "tiraboleiros “to the background and the rope tied to another centipede called "La Alcachofa" or "La Repollo" ("Cabbage"). La Alcachofa is a metal censer of silver colour. In 1971 it was made by church artisan craftsmen led by the artisan Luis Molina Aceda.

I learned of my great luck an hour later. When I went to pick up the confirmation of the pilgrimage, lady who gave it to me asked me whether I saw Botafumeiro. I replied with a smile and the lady laughed. And she added: "You were very lucky, the cathedral will be closed for a year, and no one will see Botafumeiro during this time"

Yes, this is the Holy Trinity pilgrimage. Pilgrimage of miracles, chance and happiness.

And so, you are not so sad, you can find the video here: Botafumeiro Santiago de Compostela





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