Every year modern-day Vikings descend on Spain -- here's what it looks like

In Northwestern Spain, the small village of Catoria along the Ulla river is home to 3,500 people, but on the first Sunday of every August, it is invaded by Vikings.

The tradition has been alive in the region since 1961, when a group of intellectuals from around Catoria responded to decades of oppression from the Francoist government of the time by creating a festival that celebrate the rich history of region.

They decided on a reenactment of the defeat of King Ulfo’s viking invaders by Archbishop Gelmírez’ troops near the Ulla river where two ancient towers still stand.

Today the tradition lives on with a week of musical and theatrical performances, which culminates in feasting, a mass at the Chapel of St. James, and finally pipers walk the streets leading festival goers to the river banks where the real Viking festivities take place.

Here are some pictures of the revelers in action:

The festival includes a replica of an 11th century Danish Viking ship made by young people in Catoria with help from National Museum of Roskilde and experts in Catoria's twin city, Frederikssund, Denmark.

People dressed as Vikings sail on a boat during the annual Viking festival of Catoira, Spain.


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