Here’s a sight that might make you cringe and cover your eyes – a grown man jumping over one year old babies lying on a mattress in the street. What if he trips and falls? What if he misjudges the distance?
Thankfully, there have been no reported injuries of babies at the El Colacho Festival in Spain, which is held in the village of Castrillo de Murcia near the Burgos province, during the Catholic Festival of Corpus Christi. However, it is still considered to be one of the riskiest and strangest events in the world.
The El Colacho Festival in Spain
The festival happens on a different day every year, as it takes place on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday 60 days before Easter. The next Corpus Christi festival will take place on May 26th, 2016.
Where Does This Tradition Come From?
The tradition of El Colacho festival in Spain dates back to the 1620s and at this festival any family in the village with a new baby is invited to place them on the mattresses on the ground. A man dressed as the devil will jump over the babies, which is believed to cleanse them of all sins and give them safe passage through life.
The “devil” holds whips and castanets as he bravely jumps over the infants as they cry and squirm on the mattress. Once the babies have been successfully cleansed of original sin, they will be sprinkled with rose petals and then given back to their relieved parents. The festival also features many Spanish Catholics celebrating with colourful processions of dancers dressed as angels and demons.
Disapproval of Baby Jumping Festival
Pope Benedict is not a fan of the El Colacho festival and he has asked any Spanish priests to distance themselves from these proceedings. He has also attempted to downplay the festival’s connection with Catholicism. The Church insists that it is baptism by water that cleanses the soul of original sin, rather than a giant leap by an airborne devil.
Tips for Visiting the El Colacho Festival in Spain
Would you want to travel to Spain to watch a man dressed as a devil jump over some babies? Or would it make you too nervous to watch such a dangerous spectacle? If you do want to see the baby jumping festival, here are some tips:
- The baby jumping starts at 6pm but plan on heading down to the main square in Castrillo de Murcia by around noon. There are many other entertaining activities there, including a parade through town.
- After the festival many people will gather in Bar Manso in town and enjoy some delicious Spanish wine.
- Remember that even though this festival is ridiculous, many people take it seriously so you should be respectful.
- During your visit, you can also take the opportunity to visit the gorgeous Gothic cathedral at Burgos.
Have fun taking part in the strange and fascinating ritual of the Spanish baby jumping festival!