Jumping Over Babies

The Feast of Corpus Christi is a religious celebration marked by Catholics (and a few Anglican churches) annually, typically in late May or early June. The occassion is typically marked with a mass and a processional, and, in most cases, not much else.  But near Burgos, Spain, the Feast of Corpus Christi is a big deal.

Or, rather, a lot of small deals.  Baby-sized.  Perfect for jumping over.

On the day of the Feast of Corpus Christi, the town has its own tradition, called El Colacho.  As seen in the photo above (from this gallery of five such photos), a man dresses up in a red-adorned yellow jumpsuit — representing the devil — and soars over as many as a half-dozen dolled-up infants lying on a mattress as their parents and the rest of the town watch. Symbolically, the devil’s leap cleanses the babies of original sin, putting them on the path to a good life and entrance into heaven.  Not-so-symbolically, the leap puts a half-dozen babies at risk of being injured by an airborne guy pretending to be Lucifer and carrying a whip and baton.

The tradition dates back to 1620, but its origin has been lost to antiquity. There are, thankfully, no known reports of injuries to the children, but the Pope apparently has recently asked local area priests to try and downplay the tradition’s connection with Catholicism.


Bonus fact: In 1928, Canadian attorney Charles Millar died, leaving his half a million dollar fortune behind.  According to mentalfloss.com, per his will (see item #9), his wealth was to be give to the Toronto-area woman who had the most babies in the ten year period ending in 1938.  Four women split the prize, having given birth to nine children apiece.

From the ArchivesRenting Babies to Beggars: It’s just terrible.

Related: Mixing the above up a bit, here’s a devil costume for infants and toddlers.