As we travel through the calendar together we’ll come across some unlikely celebrations, none can be more so than the Fiesta de Sante Marta Ribarteme which is held on 29th July in Las Nieves, Spain.
At a church dedicated to St. Marta (the sister of Mary Magdalene) people clamber into coffins and either play dead, or in some cases, fight (and loose) the urge to have a peek over the edge. What’s with the gruesome goings-on? Everyone in the coffins at the Fiesta de Sante Marta Ribarteme has one thing in common - no they’re not Goths, they have all had a near death experience.
Once nicely tucked in the person’s family hoist them and their coffin aloft and head to the cemetery (those unfortunate survivors without relatives have to vacate their caskets and carry them themselves). After this detour the procession returns to the church. There the ‘mourners’ and near-death-survivors gather round a statue of the St Marta and sing; ‘Virgin Santa Marta, star of the North, we bring you those who saw death’. Gifts of money are then left at the shrine in thanks for the participant’s lucky escape./\