WATER JUG FESTIVAL
August 4th, Saint Dominic Day
The Grand Summer Festival in the village of Argentona, The Water Jug Festival, is always celebrated on the Feast of Saint Dominic, August 4th. It is in the morning of that day that the most traditional events take place: the renewal of the "village vow" by the town mayor, the benediction of the waters from the Saint Dominic Spring, the blessing and sale of the "Water jug of the year" and the water jug games of strength and agility.
Since its recovery in 1951, more than sixty-five celebrations of the Water Jug Festival have marked a challenging period of continuous change and constant improvement as each year an effort is made to involve more and more people. Presently more than 100,000 guests make Argentona their destiny for both the Water Jug Festival.
The Benediction of the waters from the Saint Dominic Spring
Is the most traditional event and has been celebrated continuously since the 17th century. It is one of the few benediction rituals still alive today in our country. The blessing takes place after the mayor of the town has renewed the "village vow" during the Major Festival mass. In the benediction, Saint Dominic is implored to safeguard our waters from all plagues and illnesses just as he did during the great mid-17th century plague. Once blessed, it is customary to drink the spring water with anise, following the popular belief that these waters, if drunk from the spout of a brand new earthenware water jug, behold special healing and curative powers. Hence the custom of celebrating the water jug fair on the feast of Saint Dominic in Argentona.
The Water jug of the year
Since the festival was recovered in the year 1951, it has been a custom every year to reproduce a different traditional water jug model. Many collectors from all over the country have made it a point to add each new addition to their collection. The first year 200 replicas of the Esparreguera water jug were made and by the year 2000 more than 9,000 reproduction of that year’s cantir were sold. The collection comprises nearly all water jug prototypes (common,tortell, deposit, dolls, mamets, etc.), as well as a varied geographical origin (La Bisbal, Verdú, Agost, Puente del Arzobispo and others). Special care has also been taken to include a spectrum of different ceramic techniques, including: slipped, glazed, black (smoked), white, or as in the modernist water jug of the year 2000, molded.
Water and Water Jug games
Since 1963 the festival has been embelished with a whole gamut of water jug games, the majority of which date from ancient times but presently are only practiced in Argentona on the feast of Saint Dominic. For the little ones there are games such as blowing water from the big spout or "cantir" fishing, breaking the "cantir" blindfold (similar to "la piñata") racing while balancing the water jug on the head, etc. But the gran finale, and the most anticipated event is the water jug lifting contest, where athletes come from all over the country to see who can lift the heaviest water-filled "cantir". The largest water jug weights in at 200 kilos and is more than a meter high.