SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — The small Spanish town of Castrill de Murcia could be the most dangerous place for an infant to be on Sunday. In the local El Colacho festival, a man dressed as the devil jumped over a mat full of babies in order to cleanse them from evil spirits.
Over 200 locals participated in the festival, which dates back to 1621. The event recalls the eternal fight between good and evil and is believed to put the babies on a path to a good life, opening the entrance to heaven for them. Moreover, sin is believed to be driven from the whole town in the process.
According to the tradition, parents put their one-year-old babies on a mattress at the central square of a small village. Then a man, dressed in a cheerful yellow costume meant to symbolize the devil, takes a running start and jumps over the kids. Meanwhile a grim man dressed in black marches around beating a drum.
"We are proud to have managed to maintain this holiday tradition over the centuries,” says the mayor of the town, Marianela Manrique.
The jumping ceremony is the culmination of a four-day celebration following the feast of Corpus Christi, a Christian holiday.
Over the centuries there have been no reports of injuries among the babies, but the festival is still considered to be one of the riskiest in the world. Last year, Pope Benedict XVI directed Spanish priests to distance themselves from the event. — www.shafaqna.com