This year is on the way to become the warmest recorded year so far. It is like going back to 1982, when the locals of the town of Vilagarcía de Arousa begged for water, exhausted because of the hot weather, after returning the figure of Saint Roch to the chapel. Whether for sympathy or as a joke, someone poured water over the people and, without being aware of it, originated one of the most popular festivals in Spain today: the Festa da Auga (Water Festival). In fact, it was declared Festival of National Tourist Interest, and new events modelled on this festival appeared, such as the Naval Battle of Vallecas, in Madrid. The cultural association Cofradía Marinera Vallekas, organizer of the event, is twinned with the town council of Vilagarcía de Arousa.
After many years of celebration, this event is now very well-organized: the streets included in the festival are demarcated and signposted, and apart from taking the appropriate security measures, fire hoses are used to refresh the more than 20,000 people who take part in the event every year.
The festival begins at noon every 16th of August, once the figure of Saint Roch is returned to the chapel, after marching in procession from the Santa Eulalia Church. When the saint is in the chapel, it is time for the opening speech. After that, the streets become a collective shower.
This event represents the highest point of a ten-day celebration in the town, held from the 10th to the 20th August. During these days, there are also a pilgrimage with a collective meal, a fun fair, concerts and food events. There will be concerts of all music styles: rock, pop and folk. The rock artist Rosendo will play on Monday 14th at 11:00 pm in the park A Xunqueira. The day after the Festa da Auga, you can enjoy Roi Casal's concert, part of the tour Son Galego, Son Cubano. In the same way, the night before the Water Festival, in an event known as Víspera da Festa da Auga, there will also be concerts and music.
Regarding religious activities, you can participate in the one-hundred-year-old procession of Saint Roich, popularly known as "o Pequeno". It is held the day before the Festa da Auga in the neighbourhood bearing the Spanish name of the saint, San Roque. It is organized by the locals as an alternative to the official festival, now held at the park alameda and the port. During the evening procession, at 08:00 pm, the saint is carried to the parish church by the float bearers, who wear white clothes and a red sash. They are escorted by the priest and the local authorities.
As in any other festival in Galicia, this festival extols the virtues of the Galician food, in this case the clams from Carril. This is a food event held since 1992 where more than 2,000 kilos of clams "a la marinera" (a typical Galician clams dish with a sauce made of onion, albariño white wine, olive oil, parsley and tomato sauce) are tasted. The closing of the feasts in honour of the patron saint consists in a naval combat, one of the most important fireworks displays in the province of Pontevedra; and a parade with a charanga (a wind and percussion band), street performers and pasacalles (a group of musicians who perform while they march through the streets) playing traditional music. Different attractions, night parties, concerts, sport and food events round off these festive days in Vilagarcía de Arousa as a perfect combination of religious and leisure activities.
For those who want to get soaked during the Festa da Auga, it is advisable to wear light clothes, such as sandals and a swimsuit and, if possible, a change of clothes. In addition, you should leave all non-waterproff wearable electronic devices in a safe place.