For the parents of most babies, having the Devil jump over their new-born isn’t at the top of their to-do list. Unless, that is, they live in Castrillo de Murcia, near Burgos in northern Spain.

In this small Spanish village, El Colacho (otherwise known as the Baby Jumping Festival) is held as part of the celebrations of the Feast of Corpus Christi and has taken place every year since around 1620. It involves men dressed as the Devil running through the village and jumping over babies lying on pillows and mattresses laid out in the streets.


For the babies, all born in the preceding 12 months, the ceremony is said to bless them and absolve them of original sin. Bemused, crying or sleeping peacefully, the babies are wrapped in blankets and laid out in rows to be leaped over.  As the ‘devils’, dressed in red and yellow costumes and holding whips and castanets, leap the infants, evil spirits are lured away. After the jumping, which this year takes place on Sunday 18th June, the unharmed babies will be sprinkled with flower petals and returned to their proud parents.