|Living people lying in a coffin|
(Scroll down for video) In the small town of Las Nieves, which is located in the isolated northwest part of Spain, called Galicia, there is a strange tradition.
When a person survives a near death experience they earn the privilege of being placed in a coffin and paraded through the streets of Las Nieves, as part of a festival called La Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme.
The unique event takes place every year on July 29. All people, who manage to cheat death during the previous year, are placed into a coffin while everyone in the town walks along as the coffin is carried by strong men across the town.
At around 10:00 a.m., the coffins carrying the lucky-to-be-alive people, began to arrive at the local church. The coffins were carried by relatives of the lucky survivors, who cheated death. A special mass started around 12:00 p.m., and was broadcast outside the church via loudspeakers, so that the huge crowd outside could hear and participate.
When the service was over, the church bells rang and the coffins carrying the lucky survivors were carried uphill to the town cemetery. Then, they were brought back to the church. The coffins circled around the church a few times.
A large statue of Santa Marta de Ribarteme was taken out of the church and paraded around with the coffins, while the crowd chanted ”Virgin Santa Marta, star of the North, we bring you those who saw death.”
The survivors told their stories of their extraordinary near-death experiences. After that everyone danced the night away and celebrated being alive.