Imagine being a first-time parent living in Spain. Someone recommends a formal blessing for your child. Sure, you go along with it. What harm can come from a blessing? You’re only expecting a Father’s pat on your baby’s head and a sprinkle of holy water.
Unfortunately, that won’t be the case in this unique ritual. You’re instructed to lay your precious child on a mattress waiting for a dude dressed like a devil to arrive. Would you trust the devil to jump over your baby?
This is El Colacho, a centuries-old Catholic ceremony taking place in Castrillo de Murcia, Spain. Most of the festival’s origins remain a mystery, but some sources claim it’s based on Spanish folklore and pagan fertility rituals.
Pope Benedict XVI stated residents of Castrillo de Murcia should stop El Colacho. The town was like, “Whatevs, bro,” and kept its annual run.
The Santisimo Sacramento de Minerva (Sacred Sacrament of Minerva) organizes the event. Men dress up in traditional red and yellow costumes portraying the devil. They run around cursing the town residents, chasing them down with horse-tail whips.
As holy men run the devils out of town, the devils hop over babies placed on mattresses, taking their inherited sins with them. Audience members throw insults at the devils to purge their own.
For as long as the festival has existed, there have been no reports of any baby-related accidents (as far as we know). That’s a blessing of its own.
If you’re planning to check out El Colacho (set in June) sometime soon, check out nearby Airbnb spots and hotels. Castrillo de Murcia is a small town.