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El Colacho: Extreme sport or extreme terror

Throughout the world there are many scary, death-defying sports ranging from sky-diving to cheese rolling, but in the small Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia, a very different sport takes place each year.

El Colacho is a traditional Spanish holiday dating back to 1620 and it takes place annually to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi. Organised by the Brotherhood of Santísimo Sacramento de Minerva, the festival includes dancing and colourful processions of people dressed as angels and demons. The week-long festivities come to a head however, on the Sunday, when the baby jumping starts. Yes you read that right, BABY JUMPING.

Castrillo de Murcia is a small village, with a population of only 500 people and is located close to Burgos. The highlight of the festival, for the village inhabitants, is when men from the local community dress in yellow to symbolise the Colacho (the Devil) and jump over babies which have been placed on mattresses, along on a prescribed procession route throughout the village.

Baby Jumping

The babies chosen are those born within the previous twelve months of the the year and are placed on a mattress, before being sprinkled with confetti and flower petals prior to the El Salto del Colacho (the Devil’s jump). The origins of the tradition are said to be unknown but locals believe it cleanses babies of original sin and ensures them safe passage through life, guarding them against illness and evil spirits. It doesn’t sound so bad when you understand the thought behind the activity does it?  And whilst I couldn’t find any reports of injuries to the babies, it is still considered to be one of the riskiest traditions or ‘sports’ in the world.

Could you place your newborn under a fleet of jumping men and women? I know I couldn’t.

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(Image: thanks to Getty Images)

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