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Festival of Near-Death Experiences 2023

Spain is known all over the world for its crazy festivals, but this one takes the cake for being the most bizarre


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At the Fiesta de Santa Maria de Ribarteme in Galicia, people queue up to be put in coffins. This is not a joke! It's a popular festival that takes place every year in the tiny Spanish village of Las Nieves (or As Neves), close to the Portuguese border.

The event focuses on people who have had a near-death experience in the past year and consists of solemn processions that carry those people (who play dead) in coffins to the city’s Santa Marta de Ribarteme Church and then up the hill to the cemetery. For those who have certain superstitions or fears, all this may seem rather scary and unusual. But if you are open and creative, this day can be something really special and unprecedented until now.

It all starts with loud church bells. A saint appears and is followed by a tuple march away from the cemetery, playing La Marcha Funébre. The solemn procession begins. Along the way of the funeral, you will be offered wine tastings.

Three thousand local people join the event while participants are in coffins with dark glasses and a fan. Nothing unusual since the temperature tends to be around 33 °C on the streets and is even higher inside the coffin.

Since ancient times, Spaniards have believed that those who lie in the coffin recognize their good fortune and victory. This festival was first held in the 12th century and is a good place to go if you want to learn the tales of different near-death experiences.

This unique event happens yearly on July 29th. Don't miss it!

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