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Baby Jumping Festival in Spain - El Colacho

Updated on August 26, 2011

Weird Festival in Spain

The Baby Jumping Festival is known as El Colacho in Spain. It is a popular event that takes place every year in Castrillo de Murcia (near Burgos) and falls on a Thursday between late May and June. This traditional Spanish festival is held all over Spain to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi. The inhabitants of the northern town of Castrillo de Murcia have developed an interesting but dangerous technique for exorcising seemingly innocent children.

What They Do?

In this festival, the babies are laid on the mattresses in the middle of the street and there will be a bunch of “demons” leap over them. The demons (called as the Colacho), which is the adult males or grown men dressed in a bright red and yellow outfit and mask, will jump over the babies who born during the previous 12 months of the year.

They believe that by doing this the babies will be cleansed from their original sin, ensure them safe passage through life as well as guard against evil spirits and illness. It is believed that when the incarnate demons jump, they also take all the evil with them and therefore the children are cleansed. Some towns host religious pageants, dances and Colacho-themed rituals too.

Baby Jumping Festival in Spain
Baby Jumping Festival in Spain

Meanings and Traditions

This practice has reportedly been held since 1620 and its origins are obscure but it is said that the event is a mix between a traditional Spanish folklore and religion. The Brotherhood of Santisimo Sacramento de Mineva is responsible for organizing this festivities, and are also seen chasing and terrorizing people with their whips and truncheons around the town during the course of the day.

The festival starts typically like the usual Spanish fiesta: they adorn the streets with colorful decorations and some Spain flags. The celebrations last for a few days but the most important day is Sunday, when a parade winds through the city, beginning and ending at the town church. Many people adorn their houses with beautiful flowers and set out small “altars” with water and wine for the parade-goers. All members of the clergy as well as children who received the rite of First Communion march in the parade. The festival entails an annual purging of all evils from the town. This parade symbolically corrals the evil back towarrd the church, where it can be dissipated.

However, since the babies are involved in this activity, Baby Jumping tradition has been listed as one of the most dangerous festival in the world.

El Colacho
El Colacho
Baby Cleansing Ritual
Baby Cleansing Ritual

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