Spain: a festival of life and death

Dec 17, 2023 | Culture, People, Videos

Every year, on July 29th, the small Spanish village of As Neves is overtaken by a surreal event. People who have narrowly escaped death or severe illness are carried through the streets in open coffins, cheered on by thousands of spectators. It’s a bizarre, yet deeply moving celebration of survival, and a fight against the fear that one day, their luck will finally run out.
The Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme, as it’s known, has both Christian and pagan roots, and has been part of the village culture for centuries. It represents the intersection of life and death, of fear and hope, and of ancient rituals and modern religions. In this new documentary, viewers will follow the preparations for the Fiesta, meet the people who participate in it, and explore the complex history and mythology behind it. Ultimately, it’s a story about human resilience, about finding meaning in the face of mortality, and about the power of community to create and sustain traditions that transform our lives.

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David B