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El colacho: The tale behind Spain’s baby jumping festival which dates back to the 1600s

Celebrated each year in the town of Castrillo de Murcia, the Salto del Colacho is a week-long celebration featuring a man dressed as the devil.

El colacho: The tale behind Spain’s baby jumping festival which dates back to the 1600s
BURGOS, SPAIN - JUNE 26: A man representing the devil leaps over babies during the festival of El Colacho on June 26, 2011 in Castrillo de Murcia near Burgos, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

El Colacho is yet another entirely creative celebration, adding to Spain's reputation for inventive celebrations like the tomatina festival. The Salto del Colacho, which occurs on the festival's penultimate Sunday, is its highlight. Via Culturetrip, on this day, the Colacho, a devil-costumed guy with a colorful mask and attire, terrorizes the populace while brandishing a whip, drawing retaliatory abuse from them. All infants born within the year in Castrillo de Murcia are traditionally presented on a mattress on the ground outside their home when it is time for the "salto," or jump. Then, while bystanders applaud, the Colacho, who is a representation of the devil, jumps over the infants.

 

CASTRILLO DE MURCIA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: Babies, covered in confetti are blessed during el Salto del Colacho (the devil's jump) festival on June 22, 2014 in Castrillo de Murcia, Spain. The festival, held on the first Sunday after Corpus Cristi, is a catholic rite of the devil cleansing babies of original sin by jumping over them. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
CASTRILLO DE MURCIA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: Babies, covered in confetti are blessed during el Salto del Colacho (the devil's jump) festival on June 22, 2014 in Castrillo de Murcia, Spain. The festival, held on the first Sunday after Corpus Cristi, is a catholic rite of the devil cleansing babies of original sin by jumping over them. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

 

According to Christian belief, all people carry original sin as a result of Adam and Eve's rebellion against God in the Garden of Eden, and this uncommon act is thought to absolve the newborns of it. Today, though, it's also regarded as a significant cultural celebration that is a part of the town's local history. The babies are covered in rose petals and frequently sanctified by the local priest after the Colacho jumps over them before being retrieved by their parents. The top Catholic authorities have condemned the El Colacho celebration despite its religious roots. Catholic priests in the region have lately received instructions from Pope Benedict telling them to avoid participating in the practice since it is thought to be against Catholic tradition.



 

 

Through the practice of baptism, babies are frequently received into the religious community and granted forgiveness for their original sin. Here, the priest blesses the infant by dousing him with water. El Colacho, on the other hand, is seen as unorthodox and something that some Catholics would want to see disappear. Castrillo de Murcia, however, still holds its annual Salto del Colacho celebration in spite of the controversy. It would appear that a custom that has endured for more than four centuries is unlikely to disappear very soon.

BURGOS, SPAIN - JUNE 26: A man representing the devil leaps over babies during the festival of El Colacho on June 26, 2011 in Castrillo de Murcia near Burgos, Spain. The festival, held on the first Sunday after Corpus Cristi, represents the devil taking away original sin from the newly born babies by leaping over them. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
BURGOS, SPAIN - JUNE 26: A man representing the devil leaps over babies during the festival of El Colacho on June 26, 2011 in Castrillo de Murcia near Burgos, Spain. The festival, held on the first Sunday after Corpus Cristi, represents the devil taking away original sin from the newly born babies by leaping over them. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

 

Another event that has paved its way to under the bizarre festivals category is the "Wife Carrying World Championship". Held in Finland's northern Savonia area, this championship most certainly meets the description of a contest whose rules state that "All competitors must enjoy themselves." Wives, or any woman willing to be carried by a man, must weigh at least 49 kg (or be burdened with a bag to level the playing field) as the male competitors try to complete an obstacle course in the shortest amount of time possible. Three different carrying techniques are available to couples: piggyback, fireman's carry, and "Estonian style," in which the wife is positioned upside down on her partner's back with her legs crossed over his or her shoulders, as per Radseason.



 

 

The world champions receive an official logo statue, a bag full of wife-carrying merchandise, and enough beer to weigh the wife in exchange for their remarkable strength. Your day is loaded with entertainment for both participants and spectators, including special awards for the second and third couples as well as the most entertaining pair, best costume, and strongest carrier. The rivalry is spreading globally as well. Now, this freakish event is held in Australia, the UK, the USA, India, Hong Kong, and Germany. This event, which attracts representatives from all over the world to compete in groups of three couples at a time around an epic sand track-filled obstacle course that includes a deep water pool, may seem like an absurd trust exercise to some or an exciting honeymoon to others.

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