Baby jumping (Spanish: El Colacho) is a traditional Spanish festival dating back to 1620. It takes place annually to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi in Castrillo de Murcia, a village in the municipality of Sasamón in the province of Burgos. It appeared in the British newspaper The Guardian as one of the strangest holidays.
During the act, known as El Salto del Colacho (the devil jump) or simply El Colacho, men dressed as the Devil (known as the Colacho) in red and yellow suits jump over babies born during the previous twelve months of the year who lie on mattresses in the street. The "devils" hold whips and oversized castanets as they jump over the infant children.
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, ensuring them safe passage through life and guard against illness and evil spirits. In recent years[when?], Pope Benedict has asked Spanish priests to distance themselves from El Colacho, as the Church still teaches that it is only by the sacrament of a valid baptism that original sin can be cleansed.
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