Baby jumping (Spanish: El Colacho) is a traditional Spanish festival dating back to 1620. It takes place annually to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi in Castrillo de Murcia, a village in the municipality of Sasamón in the province of Burgos.[1][2]



During the act, known as El Salto del Colacho (the devil jump) or simply El Colacho, men dressed as the Devil (known as the Colacho) in red and yellow suits jump over babies born during the previous twelve months who lie on mattresses in the street. The "devils" hold whips and oversized castanets as they jump over the infant children. Before the jump begins, the devils taunt onlookers until the arrival of "atabalero" drummers. These pious men signal the beginning of the jump, which represents the devils being driven out and on their way. They jump over the babies, absorbing their sins, taking such sins with them.[3]

The Brotherhood of the Blessed Sacrament of Minerva [es] organizes the week-long festivities, which culminate on Sunday when the Colacho jumps over the babies on the mattresses placed on the procession route traversing the town.[4]

The origins of the tradition are unknown, but it is said to cleanse the babies of original sin, ensuring them safe passage through life and guarding against illness and evil spirits.[5] Pope Benedict XVI asked Spanish priests to distance themselves from El Colacho, as the Church teaches that the original sin is cleansed by baptism.[6][7]

Colacho in Costa Rica


As an unrelated Christmas tradition, El Colacho (short for Nicolacho or Saint Nicholas) is Costa Rica's version of Santa Claus.[8]

See also



  1. ^ "Spanish village holds baby jump". BBC News. 25 May 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Odd Truth". CBS News. Associated Press. 19 June 2003. Archived from the original on 8 July 2003.
  3. ^ Khan, Gulnaz (16 June 2017). "Look Inside Spain's Unusual Baby Jumping Festival". National Geographic. Archived from the original on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  4. ^ "The Baby-Jumping Colacho Festival; Castrillo de Murcia, Spain". Whatsonwhen. 2008. Archived from the original on 29 May 2008.
  5. ^ "Week in Photos: Glacier Soccer, Baby Jumping, Mudslide, More". National Geographic. 15 June 2007. Archived from the original on 20 June 2007.
  6. ^ "Cleansing evil spirits at El Colacho baby-jumping festival". Metro. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  7. ^ Williams, Victoria R. (2017). Celebrating Life Customs around the World: From Baby Showers to Funerals. ABC-CLIO. pp. 126–128. ISBN 978-1-4408-3659-6. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  8. ^ Mulato, Abril; Barreiro, Ramiro; Palomino, Sally (23 December 2016). "Colacho, Santi Clo y otras maneras de decirle a Santa Claus en América Latina". El País. Retrieved 27 December 2022.