Devils jump over babies in Spanish village’s unusual festival

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Devils jump over babies in Spanish village’s unusual festival

A Spanish village is preparing for one of its most unusual celebrations of the year: El Salto del Colacho, also known internationally as the “Baby-Jumping Festival.”

The celebration of El Colacho, a local mythical figure representing the devil, involves men dressed in red and yellow Colacho costumes running through the streets of the village, Castrillo de Murcia, causing mischief with whips and castanets and culminates with the baby-jumping event — El Salto del Colacho, or “The Flight of the Colacho” — on the Sunday after the Feast of Corpus Christie, which falls on June 19 this year.

Residents of the village, as well as an ever-increasing number of visitors from elsewhere in Spain and around the world, place babies born during the past 12 months on a succession of mattresses set up on a village street.

A group of black-clad, drum-beating pious men known as Atabalero arrive on the scene to chase El Colacho, who flees by jumping over the mattress-bound babies. The babies are then sprinkled with rose pedals and returned to their parents, who are usually found sitting next to the mattresses to keep the infants calm.