The Fiesta of Near Death Experiences – Spain
The fiesta takes place as a way for locals and the ever increasing amount of visitors to give their thanks to the Saint Marta, after surviving a close brush with death during the previous twelve months. Processions of family and friends of those who suffered these close encounters with death, can be found making their way though the streets of the town, ironically dressed in funeral attire as if the person may have passed away. Odd? Well it gets more interesting with the celebrant being carried in a coffin as well. Still not impressed? Now imagine the celebrants without family or friends, who are still seen in attendance, struggling to carry their own coffin…
Along the streets of the procession, you may find various street vendors, musical performances or spectators lighting fireworks, eating pulpo a la gallega (the local signature dish) and dancing.
The attendees march and chant a prayer to Saint Marta, eventually reaching her small dedicated church where a mass is held. The service is broadcast on loudspeakers to accommodate the large number of people and those many who cannot fit within the building. This service is followed by Saint Marta’s image being carried to and from the town cemetery, all the while celebrants exchange their various stories of the past year’s near death experiences.