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article imageSpanish baby-jumping festival in Castrillo de Murcia

By Anne Sewell     Jun 11, 2012 in Odd News
Every year the small Spanish town of Castrillo de Murcia holds the El Colacho festival, where a man dressed as the devil jumps over babies to cleanse them from evil spirits.
Spain has many unusual festivals throughout the year, but this is possibly one of the strangest.
This year the event was held on June 10, with over 200 locals participating in the festival in the small medieval town of Castrillo de Murcia near Burgos, northern Spain. The festival dates back to 1621.
The idea of the event is to recall the eternal fight between good and evil, and locals believe that this event puts the babies on a path to a good life and opens the entrance of heaven for them. They further believe that sin is driven from the whole town in the process.
The start of the festival sees a man, dressed in a yellow costume meant to symbolize the devil, walking and running through the streets, swatting the behinds of the people of the town, with much hilarity.
El Colacho - baby jumping festival in Castrillo de Murcia  Spain
El Colacho - baby jumping festival in Castrillo de Murcia, Spain
Video screen capture
Then parents place their one-year-old babies on a mattress in the central square of the small village. El Colacho then takes a running start and jumps over the babies. While this is going on, a grim man dressed in black marches around beating a drum.
The mayor of the town, Marianela Manrique says, "We are proud to have managed to maintain this holiday tradition over the centuries.”
El Colacho, or the baby-jumping ceremony, is the culmination of a four-day celebration following the feast of Corpus Christi, which is a Christian holiday.
There have been no reports of injuries to the babies over the centuries, but the festival is still considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world. Apparently last year, Pope Benedict XVI directed Spanish priests to distance themselves from this event.
The video below shows more of the fun procession through the streets, but unfortunately omits the final baby-jumping event.
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