Spain

 Sunny Spain: a holiday paradise in Southern Europe, populated by friendly, funny and somewhat eccentric people, great lovers for idle conversation either amongst themselves or with any and all tourists, even if one doesn't speak a single word of Spanish! The sea, the palm trees, fragrant Malaga, passionate Flamenco, flowering balconies; here's the place where life seems endless. However, what may seem as an eternal haven under the hot Spanish sun, is also a country where even Death make it's mark, and with no less regularity than at the cold harsh shores of Iceland.

 How not to remember the words of the renown Garcia Lorka, "and above all this, just death, and death alone, at five o'clock in the afternoon." Spanish oddity affected the cult of the dead, as is evident by the strange celebration in honor of one of the numerous saints in the provincial town of As Neves, in Galician. Every year, on the 29th of July, not only ordinary pilgrims, but also those who escaped Death, flock in numbers to As Neves, to thank the patroness Martha for saving their lives. Visitors paying tribute, either carry coffins or lie in them themselves, and march up to the church of St. Martha; a ceremony held in which all realize their luck in escaping death.

 One of the most famous artists, the eccentric Salvador Dali, wished to be buried at a site where people were allowed to walk on his grave. The will (the last wish) of this genius was carried out, and his body was immured in the floor of one of the rooms of the Dali Museum in Figueres. All those involved in this ceremony of thanks march to the cemetery and encircle As Neves, with the St. Martha statue adorned with flowers leading the procession. In the meanwhile, money is being dropped in the donation box at the foot of the statue, vendors are selling all types of treats and souvenirs, even miniature replicas of St. Martha herself, and choirs of people are singing the faithful hymns befitting the ceremonious occasion. And so, life abounds and continues forth, however as the wise saying goes: "memento mori"

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