Baby Jumping

el colacho

Baby jumping (‘El Colacho’) is a traditional Spanish holiday dating back to 1620 that takes place annually to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi in the village of Castrillo de Murcia in northern Spain. During the act, known as ‘El Salto del Colacho’ (‘the devil’s jump’), men dressed as the Devil (the Colacho) jump over babies born during the previous twelve months of the year who lie on mattresses in the street. The Brotherhood of Santísimo Sacramento de Minerva organizes the week-long festivities which culminate on Sunday when the Colacho jumps over the babies on the mattresses placed on the procession route traversing the town.

The festival has been rated as one of the most dangerous in the world. The origins of the tradition are unknown but it is said to cleanse the babies of original sin, ensure them safe passage through life and guard against illness and evil spirits. In recent years, Pope Benedict has asked Spanish priests to distance themselves from El Colacho, and to downplay the tradition’s connection with Catholicism. The Church still teaches that it is baptism by water, not a giant leap by an airborne devil, which cleanses the soul of original sin.

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