Ever almost died and saw that bright white light, people with luminous shadows, and echoed voices? Me neither. But if you have, get down to As Neves, Spain on July 29 to take part in the annual Festival of Near-Death Experience, AKA Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme.
Here, thousands gather annually to pay their respects to the local church’s patron saint of death. I’ve read that the town of As Neves is located by the ferocious Río Miño (Minho) that marks the border between Portugal and Spain. Those who’ve been there, done that, bring their own coffins and are carried in a procession around the church.
Maybe they then watch reruns of “Dead Like Me” or “Six Feet Under” — with Spanish subtitles. I doubt they have coffin races and other competitive events, but all this reminds me of a scene in Woody Allen’s “Bananas” with people carrying a cross and trying to get a parking space, only to be aced out by other people carrying a coffin.