You have to be at least 12 years old to bungee jump and 16 years old to skydive. How old do you have to be to let the devil jump over you? Less than a year old if you are a baby in Spain. Baby jumping is not a sport but is as dangerous as bungee jumping or sky diving; maybe more.
The Devil’s Jump
Dating back to 1620s, baby jumping, also known as El Colacho (devil’s jump) is a Spanish ritual. Men dressed as devils, in yellow and red suits leap over infants placed in rows over mattresses like obstacles. This jumping procession takes place throughout the village of Castrillo de Murcia in June, every year. Only the babies born in the preceding year are eligible for this tradition.
Why would parents put their babies and themselves through this risk, you ask? The roots of baby jumping are largely unclear but it is believed that it is an unorthodox form of baptism, an act of absolving the infants of ‘original sin’. When an infant is jumped over by the ‘devil’, all evil spirits, misfortunes and illnesses are warded off of him/her. All these years, there has not been a single report of any injury to the babies.
Objections from Roman Catholic Church
Despite being organised by the Catholic Brotherhood of the Sacred Sacrament of Minerva, El Colacho is frowned upon by the highest Catholic authorities. According to the Roman Catholic Church, only the traditional practice of water baptism can cleanse humankind of sins. And so they have asked Spanish priests to completely withdraw their support from this unorthodox festival. They would rather see it end.
El Colacho in the Present
Even the highest authorities’ intervention has not been able to put a stop to this ancient ritual. It is still celebrated with full fanfare and is no longer restricted to infants in the local area. People from all over the world have started taking their babies to this terrorising festival.