Spanish festival you need to see before you die

OPEN COFFIN: Family and friends carry the ‘escapee’ through the streets

PEOPLE who have recently avoided death, have been carried in open coffins through Las Nieves a small town in Galicia, north west Spain.

The annual pilgrimage, the Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme, on 29 July is for people who have had near-death experiences and want to pay their respects to the saint of the town.

Family and friends carry the coffin of the ‘escapee’ through the streets of the town, all dressed appropriately for funerals.


Those taking part in the procession, led by the effigy of Santa Marta pray and thank the saint. In Biblical terms she is Martha, the sister of Lazarus who was brought back from the dead by Jesus. 

Las Nieves more than doubles its population of just over 4,000 each year as people come to pay their respects to the ‘Saint of Death’.

The ceremony is believed to have started in the 17th century.


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