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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: EL COLACHO-THE BABY JUMPING FESTIVAL FROM SPAIN!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

EL COLACHO-THE BABY JUMPING FESTIVAL FROM SPAIN!



  You would be forgiven for being curious about the title of this article because even though Spain boasts some of the most unusual and bizarre festivals compared to the rest of the world, throwing tomatoes over each other as they do in Valencia or being chased down the street by a herd of bulls in Pamplona does not come close to the excitement aroused by the Baby Jumping Festival held each year in Castrillo de Murcia near Burgos.




   Baby jumping (El Colacho) is a traditional Spanish practice dating back to 1620 that takes place annually to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi in the village of Castrillo de Murcia near Burgos.  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.




   Anyone who has a newborn addition to their family can bring their baby along to this festival. The festival itself is part of the celebrations held all over Spain for the Catholic festival of Corpus Christi and whilst at this particular time many other cities and towns have spectacular processions and a variety of other popular means of revelling and enjoying themselves, there is only one Baby Jumping Festival.





The festival is organized by the brotherhood of Santísimo Sacramento de Minerva, whose members assume the two main roles associated with the festival: those of el Colacho and el Atabalero. El Colacho, who represents the devil, is dressed in a bright yellow and red outfit and mask, and el Atabalero wears a black suit and a sombrero and goes through the town with his large drum.




   Beginning on the Wednesday before the festival, the two characters cavort around the town chasing people, terrorizing them with their whips and truncheons and generally causing trouble.
  The most important day of the festival comes on Sunday, when a parade winds though the city, beginning and ending at the town church. The town's residents adorn their houses with flowers and set out small "altars" with wine and water for the parade-goers. Members of the clergy and children from the town who have received the rite of First Communion march in the parade.




   Overall, the festival entails an annual purging of evil from the town. The parade symbolically corrals the evil back toward the church, where it can be dissipated
    The babies are laid on the ground in swaddling clothes and grown men, yes adult males, dressed as devils jump over the infants and this is supposed to cleanse them of all evil doings. The question of who is protecting the babies from the example being set by the adults begs to be asked but who are we to doubt this traditional combination of religion and Spanish folklore which proves to be great fun, if not a little scary, to watch.




   Anyone who is not blessed with receiving this protection during their early childhood and has lived life looking over their shoulder waiting for bad things to happen or illness to strike can, in their adulthood, choose to take part in an exercise of jumping through fire on 21st December in Granada, known as the Hogueras. This is intended to protect them from illness
   Pope Benedict has asked priests in Spain to distance themselves from the El Colacho, or La Octava Festival.

2 comments:

  1. As spaniard, Im one more time ashamed of some cultural tradtions of my country. Just watching the bunch of retarded placing their babies there, makes me sick. Thanks for posting it. Hopefully pressure from other nations will embarras us enough to stop these things. Sadly, there are so many...

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  2. Sometimes it's not easy to get away from something that's been in your culture for such a long time. Change is never easy.

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