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WATER JUG FESTIVAL: HISTORY

  Edition 2008

The origins of the festival date back to the 17th century and the celebration of the first Saint Dominic Assembly.

It appears that in the middle of the 17th century a great plague or epidemic caused the people of Argentona to implore the aid of Saint Dominic, then known as the patron Saint of the waters. Their prayers were answered and in gratitude the villagers pledged to celebrate August 4th in honor of Saint Dominic. Originally the day was held as a religious feast and later on as the major festival of the village. During each new edition of this festival the "village vow" to the saint is renewed and the waters of the Saint Dominic Spring are blessed in observance of a special rite, conceived expressly for this occasion and only practiced in Argentona. Over the years this celebration grew in popularity and people from all the neighboring towns in the county would gather to partake in it. Presently the festival attracts thousands of people from all over Catalonia, Spain and even other European Countries.

It was a popular belief that the waters from the Saint Dominic Spring held special curative powers.

Popular Tradition has it that the waters from the Saint Dominic Spring, once blessed in the ritual fashion, acquired remedial properties, curing fevers and a whole array of illnesses –but that these attributed powers could only be obtained after the water was placed in a brand new earthenware jug. Hence the custom of peddling earthenware objects and especially the cantir (earthenware jug with handles and special "jet" drinking spout) on this feast day. Since the year 1951, Saint Dominic’s Day has been celebrated as the "Cantir" Festival and each year a different model water jug is chosen from the vast variety of traditional earthenware pieces. This elected cantir is numbered according to the year it is reproduced (last year was number 50 and 10,000 replicas were produced) and becomes the symbol of that year’s festival.