10 Wacky Small Town Festivals


Baby-jumping Festival

El Colacho clears a mattress full of babies.
El Colacho clears a mattress full of babies.
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

If you think making babies cry is an odd pastime, try lining them up on a mattress and attempting to clear them in one jump.

Welcome to Castrillo de Murcia, Spain, where babies are the subject of yet another festival, this one is also about warding off evil spirits from new life. But here, the babies simply lie in groups on mattresses on the street while people dressed as devils jump over them.

The baby-jumping event, called El Colacho (that's the name of the festival's baby-threatening devil), is part of the Christian town's Corpus Christi celebration at the end of May or the start of June.

It's a celebration focused on a general purging of evil from the town. In the days leading up to the baby-jumping event, men in devil costumes wander the city, harassing its inhabitants, symbolizing trouble. The central component of the celebration is actually a parade that winds through the city, in which any child who has taken first communion in the preceding year marches alongside the clergy. It's following this parade that the babies take their positions on the ceremonial mattresses that stretch down the main street.

As El Colacho jumps each infant-laden mattress and runs away, any evil follows him, leaving the babies cleansed and ready for a good, pure life. Some babies cry. A few roll off a mattress. Many laugh. There have been no reports of bad landings.

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