April 25th ¨Bagpipes¨ day

On the day of the ¨Bagpipes¨ (¨La Gaita¨) the Brotherhood goes over the village visiting the elected to wear the Saint´s Bread on the 11th of May Damsels.  They carry a white feather and the ¨andador¨ (person in charge of the upkeep) carries a metallic inkwell with indigo ink which is used to make a small mark on their faces.  Bag-pipers walk with them playing traditional melodies.

The ceremony begins at the alberge with a traditional song sung by the bag- pipers then the Prior makes the ink mark on the face of the Great Damsel who would lead the Procession on the 11th of May.

When the ¨Bagpipes¨ day ends, the Brotherhood together with the abbot walk to the baker´s place in order to sanctify the yeast to be used for the baking the Saint´s bread which is shared out between the residents and the bordering regions on the 1st of May.

Back at the alberge the brothers go to the storehouse to select the wine which would be served to the public during ¨Lunch of the Saint¨.


The first of May, every year, the Brotherhood distributes to the inhabitants of the village and to those in neighboring villages the so called ¨Saint´s Bread¨, bread roll with prepared with little yeast which is kept then during the whole year in a visible place of people´s homes.  It symbolizes the charity of the Saint who fed and helped the pilgrims on the Way of Saint James.

A total of 6000 breads are baked every year and the Damsels collaborate in the share-out.  They dress regional costumes and carry small adorned baskets with the bread. This tradition is celebrated on the 11th of May.


This is the day when the festivities commence.  The Brotherhood assumes the leading role in the organization and the development of the civic and religious ceremonies.

In the morning the ¨Carneros del Santo¨ (Saint´s Rams) are taken around the streets of the town.  Once the rams are in ownership of the Brotherhood they enjoy a special privilege dated back in 1124 when it was decreed by the king Alfonso I (The Battler) that the cattle grazed as free-ranged animals on the fields and mountains of his property.  The ¨brothers¨ adorn the animals with mantels and bread rolls on their heads then start the walk along the village.

In the afternoon there is a Palm Procession to commemorate the practice of using Holm oak branches to adorn the tomb of the Saint when it was located outside the Cathedral.

The Procession starts at the Monastery of San Francisco on a carriage pulled by oxen which is filled with wood and Holm oak branches and is joined by the brothers of the Brotherhood, the bag-pipers and dancers.  All together walk through the village toward the Cathedral where the abbot blesses the branches and the wood.  They are taken then into the Cathedral and put on the Saint´s Tomb as adornment.  The next stop is made in the Alberge ¨Casa del Santo¨ where two branches are used to decorate the entrance and the wood is passed which is then used for cooking the lunch ¨Almuerzo del Santo¨.

The Brotherhood then goes to the bakery where the brothers weigh and count the breads which are later shared.

Finally, at about 7 p.m. the Procession of the Prioresses begins.  During this procession the women dress black dresses and wear a basket on their heads with a Saint´s Bread in it.  This Procession is also joined by the representatives of the Brotherhood, authorities, bad-pipers and dancers, music band and inhabitants.


This day begins with a mass at 8:30 after which The Old Prior and the abbot examine the table and the area is opened to the public which calls on in great attendance.  The table is adorned with great care with different things related to the Saint and The Way of Saint James.

A Procession starts in the Alberge at 12 a.m. It goes through the village, makes a stop at the ¨Saint´s Hospital¨ and return to the alberge where lunch is served.

The Damsels dress large white dresses and tunics and wear the ¨Brotherhood´s Medal¨. On their heads each one wears a richly adorned with flowers white basket with a Saint´s Bread in it.  They share this bread with the residents of the ¨Saint´s Hospital¨. They stand then in two rows with The Great Damsel in the center.  The great Damsel besides the basket and bread is also wearing carrying a Saint´s Image.

Another Procession called Procession of The Wheel (La Rueda) takes place in the evening after which the abbot blesses the onions which are shared-out with bread and wine.  More than 200 dozens of onions, 60 large loaves of bread (2kg each) and 100 liters of red wine is used for this tradition.


This day starts with an early morning mass celebrated in the one of the salons of the alberge.  It is the day of our Saint, patron and founder of Santo Domingo de la Calzada.  During this mass the lunch which is cooked during the night is blessed and then shared out to the inhabitants and visitors.

The Lunch consists of 225 kg of mutton, 80 kg of chickpeas, 80 kg of chard, 10 kg of leek, 3 kg of beacon, onions, parsley and other ingredients.  It is shared out with 60 large loaves of bread spread with 100 liters of wine.

At 11 a. m. there is another mass in the Cathedral officiated by the Bishop during which the national and local authorities occupy a distinctive place. After the mass the Saint´s Procession starts and last over 3 hours being followed by crowds.


This day is last day of the year Brotherhood and during a public ceremony the new Prior and Brothers are named. They are then invested with medals of the Brotherhood and the handover of the keys between Old and New Priors takes place. The Secretary hands the Zinc Box.

After these proceedings the Brothers of the Brotherhood are named and awarded the Medals that distinguish all those who had previously made a formal request.  Afterwards, all people go to the house of the new Prior carrying the Saint´s Image and the Zinc Box.  The new Prior is to guard it until the next 13th of May.

When the Brotherhood is back to the alberge the public enjoys the bread, cheese and vine served by the Brotherhood. Some 130 kilograms of cheese are used for this purpose.