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 Madrid. During the act, known as El Salto del Colacho (the devil's jump) or simply El Colacho, men dressed as the Devil (known as 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 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.
- BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Spanish village holds baby jump
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