The Spanish. From pelting each other with tomatoes to letting angry bulls loose in the streets, the country tends to top most charts when it comes to celebrations that border on the bizarre, but surely El Colacho takes the title for downright oddness.
Otherwise known as The Baby Jumping Festival, it does exactly what it says on the tin with costumed characters dressed as the devil leaping over a gaggle of babies lying on a mattress, all in the name of religion.
Taking place in the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia every June, it is a tradition dating back nearly 400 years to mark Corpus Christi, a Catholic feast celebrating the body and blood of Jesus. Needless to say, this particular manner of celebrating attracts far more attention beyond its religious origins, with crowds flocking to swell the population of this small village in the north-west corner of the country to enjoy four days of celebrations with the bizarre infant-leaping display marking the culmination of the festivities.
The practice represents the cleansing of the babies’ souls and wards off eveil spirits, with men dressed as Colacho – a character who represents the devil – taking a running leap over the row of babies laying blissfully unaware on a mattress in the street. The whip and baton he clutches under his arms make the image even more sinister, although the bright yellow suit is admittedly not the most frightening.