What a weird and wonderful world we live in. But before we get to wonderful, here’s a look at the weird.
In the town of Castrillo de Murcia, an interesting festival which has roots in Pagan and Catholic belief systems is still being practiced.
The festival, which dates back to the 1620s, is named El Colacho and is held on the Sunday after the Feast of Corpus Christi in mid-June.
Once a year, “devils” run wild through the village. The devils wear red and yellow masks to conceal their identity while they hurl abuse and insults through the streets. They also use horsetail to whip villagers.
At a certain point in the festival, drums will sound the arrival of the black-clad atabalero, religious men and saviours come to drive out evil, and the fight of the devil begins.
One important aspect of the festival is a ritual where babies born during the previous year are laid on a mattress in the street and the men in masks leap over them.
It’s a sort of baptism ritual where the devil absolves sin, disease, and evil from the child when he leaps over them. After this, the babies are sprinkled with rose petals and quickly taken back by their parents.
Traditionally, the babies involved were locals from the village, however in recent years tourists from all over the world have travelled to participate.
Although there have been no reports of any injuries to the children, there is speculation within the Catholic Church about the safety of the practice. Go figure.