Each year on the first Sunday in August, the small northwestern Spanish village of Catoira becomes a festival of brutal force and horned helmets. The Vikings first came to the land a thousand years ago. In 1961, a group of amateur historians discovered that Catoira was one of the landing sites for the Viking invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries and decided to create a festival dedicated to the event. Since then, the event has become a national celebration, uniting thousands of Norse-culture lovers from all over the world. They dress like Vikings, they paint their faces blue, white and black, sail their 17.5-meter-long drakkars — replicas of wooden Viking warships — and swim to the ruins of the two towers of Castellum, which were used to defend Catoira from the naval attacks centuries ago. The festival also includes shopping at a medieval-style market and, of course, authentic folk music all day long.