Inside El Colacho, the wild 400-year-old Spanish festival where men dress as devils and hurdle over babies to drive away evil

June 20, 2019

Source: Burgos Conecta
The babies must have born in Castrillo or nearby, and be less than one-year-old. Every June men in the Spanish town of Castrillo de Murcia dress as devils and hurdle over newborn babies to drive away evil — part of the the festival of El Salto del Colacho. The devils hold horsehair whips and castanets as they jump, which they use to drive away evil. It has happened in Castrillo de Murcia every year since 1620. Meaning “the devil’s jump,” it happens in the northern Spain, near the city of Burgos, and has been going on since 1620. And locals say none of the babies have ever been injured in the competition’s 398-year history. The baby-jumper represents the devil who is removing evil from the babies, who are all under one year old. The devils usually jump over around 100 newborns, while 3,000 people watch from the sidelines. Men dressed in traditional costume meant to make them look like devils charge down from the town’s old church and jump over small mattresses with babies on as onlookers watch. At the end of the course, young boys and girls also taunt the devils, until they chase them with the whips and castanets. The locals believe the evil spirits stick to the devils as they jump over the babies. The devil is a member of the brotherhood. The celebration is organized by abbots from the local Brotherhood of Santísimo Sacramento de Minerva, who bless the babies. Every June 23, men in the northern Spanish town of Castrillo de Murcia don devil outfits and hurtle down the streets vaulting over newborn babies. Catholics believe the devils drive away evil from the babies by using whips and castanets as they hurdle over the children. 
Here’s what it looks like. This year it will be held on June 23. Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories. The running starts as the clock strikes 6:00 p.m. The babies lie comfortably on rose petal covered mattresses, and are blissfully unaware of the festivities. The Catholic celebration of El Salto del Colacho, which translates as “The devil’s jump,” has been going on in Castrillo every year since 1620. Carrying whips and castanets to drive off spirits, the devil will hurdle over 100 babies before chasing older children in the town square. 
Here’s what it’s like to be there.El Colacho takes place every year on a Sunday in late June to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi. Residents also hang white sheets from balconies which symbolize purity — which they hope will banish the devil.

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