Unique Traditional Culture : Baby Jumping “El Colacho” in Spain
If you are the baby, you might need to find another four partners-in-crime to complete your own group. But if you are a tourist and wanting to witness one of the most dangerous festivals in the world, El Colacho should be included in your list. Spain has been widely known for being one of the countries with death-defying festivals like having the bull-running and the festival where you get to see around everyone from around the world throwing thousands of tomatoes to each other on the street. As much as we hope that “baby jumping” is just a metaphor, truth is, it does what it says.
What is El Colacho actually and why is it still being practiced?
The festival takes place in Castillo de Murcia, Burgos, every year and it invites visitors from across the globe whenever the festival takes place. The Devils (men dressed in traditional costume) will be jumping over the one-year-old babies being laid on mattresses in the street. They considered it as the jumping competition and you can only find something as unique as this in Spain. Each mattress has between five to seven babies (some of them crying, some of them are completely calm) and their family members will be standing close by watching as the grown-up men running and jumping over them. (Image by Helder Mouro)
This year, the festival will take place on June 19, 2014 (Thursday) because it usually happen the Sunday after Corpus Christi. Even though the church does not officially sanctioned the festival, the roots of this yearly activity are in religion. It all started back in the town to the northern of Spain, the Castrillo de Murcia, in the year of 1620. According to them, the reasons why they considered baby jumping, also known as El Calacho, is a practice should be continued to the next generation is because it will blesses the babies and remove their original sins. In shorter sentence, it is to prepare the babies for their new lives with God. The Devil (again, the men dressed in red and yellow costume) will lure the evil spirits from the babies and protect them from all illnesses. Now, we don’t know whether having a knife jabbing through the skin is a lot better than having someone’s jumping over a newborn child.
Because the festival is one-of-a-kind, it is considered as the annual highlight of Castrillo de Murcia. It actually contributes a lot to the tourism of the town since the population of the sleepy village is only around 500. We’d like to imagine a lot of Spaniards and tourists alike come to the town and watch it transforms during the festival week. You can enjoy a lot of things and activities while waiting for the real highlight of the festival such as feasting, listening to music and frivolities. We all know how Spanish love to party and where else is a better place having fun than in Spain? (Image by carlos gonzález ximénez)
The good news about this dangerous festival is that we don’t see any signs of it will be stopping anytime soon. If you enjoy watching exorcism, then perhaps going for El Colacho will help to feed your desire in watching baby jumping. The bad news about this is we are still worried that accidents might happen and you’ll end up watching babies being stepped on by these men. So, before you go, prepare yourself for your new amazing experience in Spain.
Featured Image by Helder Mouro
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