The life and death of Sant Magí

Written by Gabriella Nonino on . Posted in Events, Tarragona Blog

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Sant Magí is the patron saint of Tarragona and every year his life and death are celebrated during the festival of Sant Magí, a cornucopia of  all night parties,  music, food, processions and a theatrical re-enactment of his death.

Les Contalles de Sant Magí (the Tales of Sant Magí) is an open air re-enactment of the four major stages of the life of the Saint.

Born from a noble family in Tarragona in the third centry AD,  lived as a hermit in a cave, cocated oin the Tarragonese hinterland over a period of 30 years where he lived preaching, carrying out miracles and converting people to the new religion.

It all came to an abrupt end when an edit issued by the Roman emperor Maximian gave start to the Christian persecutions, which was  carried out locally by Tarragona’s own prefect Dacià.

Having failed to convince Magí  to give up his religious activities Dacià gave order to imprison the saint. Several miracles followed his imprisonment including angels breaking his chains and leading him out to the prison and back to his cave. When the Roman soldiers found him he was beaten and tortured, yet when his torturers asked him for water, legend goes that Magí stuck the earth three times with a rock giving life to three wells bearing the sweetest of water.

The soldiers drank the water and fell asleep but when they woke up they noticed that Magí had moved out of sight back to his cave to continue his prayers; they caught up with him and Magí was killed.

A chapel was built on the spot of his execution and people flocked there to drink the water from source. Its a strange water, said to be useless for cooking and cleaning, but able to cure all kind of diseases when drunken.

It’s this water which is brought back to Tarragona every year on the 19th of August to commemorate his death and distributed in small earthenware vessels to the people of the city

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