Pilgrimage of Saint Catherine

The pilgrimage of Santa Catalina is celebrated in Jaén on 25 November. It is held at the foot of the castle that presides over the city. Santa Catalina is the co-patron saint of Jaén, and this day commemorates the conquest of the city by Fernando III in 1246. By reading this article you will get to know how faithful and devoted to their patrona are the residents of Jaén. 🙏👸

Pilgrimage of Saint Catherine

👸💭 Legend of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and the Conquest of Jaén

While Ferdinand III the Saint was in the surroundings of the city, which was under attack by his troops, with the aim of surrendering it and finally taking it for the Castilian dominions, pushing the Muslims further and further towards their last stronghold, in Granada, they say that one night something magical happened.

While Ferdinand III the Saint was in a dream, Saint Catherine of Alexandria appeared in his dream and handed him some large keys. Once awake, it was understood that they were the keys to the city of Jaén and that in the dream Saint Catherine was showing her support for the Christian troops who were about to surrender Jaén. Shortly afterward, the Castilian king obtained the defeat of the Muslim king Alhamar and the surrender of Jaén.

Is this a simple legend or a true story…what do you believe❓

Saint Catherina
Photo Credit: EcuRed

👸 Тhe pilgrimage of Saint Catherine

Preparations for the procession begin months in advance by the "Saint Catalina of Alexandria, Patron and Adopted daughter of Jaén" coffracy. This year is special because it is 775 years since she was named the patron saint of Jaén. *An interesting fact is that so far this is the oldest known patronage in the world.*

The people of the brotherhood are involved in:

✅ decorating the church

✅ preparing the image, 

✅ make decorations with flowers, 

✅ buying candles

✅ hiring a band and orchestra

✅ provision of police

✅ find anderos (people who carry the image)

✅ preparing the route, 

and so on. 

Believe me the list with tasks is very long…I was lucky to meet one of the head organizers of the pilgrimage, through whom I witnessed the final preparations before the big day. 

He took me to the last liturgy before the procession on the 25th (there are 3 liturgies in the name of Santa Catalina that are performed before the 25th). I have to admit, it was quite interesting watching a Catholic liturgy. I managed to get permission from the Pope to take a few photos to share the experience with you guys.📷

The liturgy
The liturgy






The town hall published a map of the route along which the Saint will be carried.

The map
Photo Credit: “Ayuntamiento de Jaén”

👸 The day of the pilgrimage has arrived

Click here to see videos of the pilgrimage: 

📷 Watch Pilgrimage of Saint Catherine p1 

📷 Watch Pilgrimage of Saint Catherine p2

👸 Тhe fourth liturgy for Santa Catalina

Тhe whole procession that you saw in the previous videos led us to the palace of Santa Catalina. There they held the last liturgy to honor their patrona and leave her on the altar prepared for her.


📷 Watch Last liturgy

👸 Sardines for Santa Catalina

It is traditional to eat sardines after watching the last service. I was lucky enough to share the good company of a family who gave me the chance to eat the traditional sardines and also to try many other traditional dishes.