El Colacho: Why "devils" jump over babies at a festival in Spain

In mid-June, the numerous tourists who flock to the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia can follow an unusual ritual: at "El Colacho", masked men dressed as red and yellow devils parade through the streets of the village and whip with a horse's tail after the residents.

El Colacho: Why "devils" jump over babies at a festival in Spain

In mid-June, the numerous tourists who flock to the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia can follow an unusual ritual: at "El Colacho", masked men dressed as red and yellow devils parade through the streets of the village and whip with a horse's tail after the residents. But that's not the strangest thing about the festival: babies born the year before are placed on mattresses and placed on a street in the village. The devils now have a different task: They run through the street and jump over the babies. The children should receive a kind of baptism.

People who take part in this ritual and let their children join in it believe that by jumping, the devil is picking up the babies' original sins. They should also be protected from illness and have good luck in life. The devils are insulted by the residents during the ritual so that they are also spared from the disaster. After a priest has showered the babies with rose petals, the little ones are allowed to go back to their parents. So far there have been no reports of an accident occurring during one of the jumps.

The "El Colacho" ritual is said to have started around 1620 - but it could be even older. Nobody can say that exactly today. The celebrations are said to have a pagan origin that eventually mixed with Christianity. It takes place every year on the Sunday after Corpus Christi and attracts visitors from all over the world.

Despite being considered a religious event by festival organizers, the Vatican does not recognize the Baby Jumping Festival. Former Pope Benedict XVI. is said to have even warned against attending the event. Nevertheless, the villagers want to continue their ritual. Probably because it attracts people from all over the world to their village every year.

Sources: "National Geographic", "AFP YouTube"

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