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El Colacho Baby Jumping Festival

Listed under Festivals in Burgos, Spain.

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Spain has some pretty weird occasions on their calendar, and the annual tomato fight, the running of the bulls or that crazy horse ride through the square aren’t any where near as weird as this one – The Baby Jumping Festival. It’s held as part of the local Corpus Christi celebrations. This is a pretty normal Catholic occasion, celebrated differently all over Spain, mostly involving parades or mystery plays, and this take on the episode is limited, as far as I know, to the tiny town of Castillo de Murcia. Basically babies are laid on the ground in rows and men dressed as devils take running jumps over them. Supposedly this exorcises the baby’s potential demons – taking it literally it’s like asking the devil to skip this one, maybe?

It’s not quite as bad as it sounds, the babies get to lie on mattresses and they’re probably too young to remember it and be scarred for life by the image of their father dressed as the devil jumping over them.

What is scary are the brotherhood who organise it, the Santisimo Sacramento de Minerva. They’ve been doing it since the early 17th Century and run a tight ship during the festival, corralling people into line all over town, over what seem like minor discretions. They’re also surprisingly picky about which babies get jumped - they have to be only a few months old and the invitation is an honour – though they don’t seem to be as picky about the devil-men who’re jumping them – who from where I was standing looked like a far more sinister threat than the devil or bad spirits at this point. One of the brotherhood told me in no uncertain terms that there have never been any injuries sustained in this part of the festivities, but that it was the party which follows that has the most casualties and to put my can in the bin when I had finished or something bad might happen to me…

Written by  Fabian Condello.

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