It could just be one of the strangest things you’ll ever witness: A festival in the small Spanish town of Castrillo de Murcia that is capped with people jumping over babies. The four-day festival — held annually during the feast of Corpus Christi — is called “El Colacho” and its roots go back to the 17th century. Part of the festival includes the devil — El Colacho — receiving insults from youths. He then chases them throughout the village streets, whipping them with a horse tail. The spectacle culminates with El Colacho, who is symbolized by men dressed in yellow and red devil costumes, leaping over babies lying on mattresses in the street.
According to vlogger Mike Corey, the story is that the devil has lost a spiritual war and is being banished from the city. He leaves the cathedral and on his way out of town he jumps the babies which cleanses them of sin and disease. The babies are then showered in flower petals and retrieved by the parents.
No babies to this point have been injured in this tradition.
How to see the festival for yourself
The nearest big city to Castrillo de Murcia is Burgos, which is either a 2.5-hour bus ride or 4.5 hour-train ride from Madrid (you can also fly into the regional airport from Barcelona). From Burgos, it’s only 35 minutes by car to the small town. There are six buses per week that make the trip if you don’t have a car. The dates of the feast of Corpus Christi changes from year to year (May/June), which means so do the dates of this festival. The baby jumping happens on the Sunday after the feast (although this can vary).
What to consider
– If you’re making a day trip from Burgos to watch, expect to spend a full day in Castrillo de Murcia.
– The baby jumping starts around 6 pm.
– The sharing of regional wine is a big part of the festival.