El Colacho is a Spanish ritual which involves men dressed as the devil in red and yellow jumpsuits paired with modern running shoes, jumping over babies born in the previous twelve months. The El Colacho festival (internationally known as “The baby jumping festival”) traditionally takes place on the Sunday after Corpus Christi (usually May – June), and this year it was on yesterday, 22nd June 2014. If you plan to visit please bear in mind that festival dates can sometimes change at the whim of the town, so check this at the time of planning.
The sleep village of Castrillo de Murcia has a population of just 500, situated in the province of Burgos. The actual baby-jumping takes place in the town square. During the week following Corpus Christi, the small quiet town becomes transformed overnight. Suddenly bustling with activity as Spaniards from the Burgos region and tourists come to witness this impressively strange ritual.
El Colacho starts up to a week in advance of the ‘baby jumping’ with all things festival. You’ll experience all the typical music, running through the streets, feasting and general merriment. Be aware, some costumed devils of the brotherhood chase festival goers with whips that pack a serious punch, so make sure you get running when the time comes!
On ‘baby jumping’ day, there are plenty of activities around the town, usually held in one of three places: the church, the town square or the main looping circular promenade. As previously mentioned, festival goers should be vigilant as the first activity, aptly named “run” when El Colacho, a drummer and a group of undertakers stroll through town as the devil tries to whip those en route.
Those who wish to continue the festival spirit should gather in the town square after each run around town on Sunday, as wine is brought out along with pastries that have been baked locally. Strangely though, despite El Colacho’s religious roots, the festival is not officially sanctioned by the church, but makes a great day out and alternative / local traditional method of baptism.
Images by Denis Doyle / Getty