Festival of Near Death Experiences – Romeria de Santa Marta de Ribarteme is held every year on July 29th. This is the feast day of Santa Marta, patron of the small city As Neves (La Nieves) which is located in Galicia region In northwestern Spain.
According to Catholic tradition, Santa Marta was the sister of Lazarus who was brought back from death by Jesus. As such she is considered as saint that protects the city from all evil.
At the festival, which is marked by death and resurrection, the city’s residents and many tourists thank the saint for having saved from death and survived the 12 months that have passed since their previous visit and their participation in this Thanksgiving festival.
Thousands of people, local and tourists pour into town and the demand for accommodation is higher than usual, therefore it is advisable to check hotel prices and make reservations ahead of time.
The highlight of the festival’s events is a strange “festive” procession, which is topped by an image of the saint. The statue symbolizes her return from the dead. The surrealist parade is followed by real coffins. Inside the coffin lies a living person pretending to be dead. The coffin is carried, with great effort, by his family throughout the procession along with dozens similar coffins.
The strange parade reaches the church that is dedicated to Santa Marta, where a religious ceremony is held with loudspeakers for the benefit of the large crowd outside the small church. In addition to the procession of the dead, the visitors can taste traditional local dishes, listen to singing and playing of Gypsy bands and more.
Those who present at this unique and unconventional festival are guaranteed a unique and exciting cultural experience.