FESTIVAL OF NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES
The Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme - also known as The Festival of Near Death Experiences - is an annual celebration for people who have had a near death experience and lived to tell the tale. Named after Saint Marta de Ribarteme, the patron Saint of resurrection. the festival is held on 29th July in the small Spanish Village of Las Nieves, Pontevedra, near the Northern Portuguese border.
Although centred around a theme of death, the event is a joyous celebration that sees thousands of people line the streets of the village to take part in the processions. In the main event, the year's 'survivors' are carried in coffins through the streets by their loved ones until they reach the small church. Following a celebratory mass that is broadcast through a loudspeaker to the whole village, they then proceed to the local cemetery where the pilgrims pray to a statue of Saint Marta by saying: 'Virgin Santa Marta, star of the North, we bring you those who saw death',
They then give thanks that their lives were saved and offer a gift to the Saint, usually in the form of money. By thanking the Saint Marta for saving their lives, they believe that she will keep them safe in the year to come. Celebrations involving food, drink, dancing, music and firework displays then continue throughout the night and often into the following day.