If Italy has a rival as far as devotion is concerned, it is undoubtedly Spain, which has shown so many enthusiasm by the Catholic faith historically that on many occasions has made Rome look like nothing. This is reflected in its thousands of churches and religious rituals that are raised and celebrated throughout its geography, and among which may be some curious celebrations, as in the case of El Colacho, a procession where there are no bonfires as in the St. John’s Day, but newborn babies!
The origin of the Colacho:
This surprising (and for many reason dangerous) celebration takes place in the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia from the year 1620, in order to ward off the evil spirits of children born during that year. The festivities, organized by the brotherhood of the Blessed Sacrament of Minerva, take place the following week of celebrating Corpus Christi, through a picturesque procession that crosses the whole town and which have as the most distinctive element the famous leap of the newly born.
How does El Colacho happen?
Everything begins in the church of Castrillo de Murcia, from where the procession with the clergy and all its rumor, the girls who gave their first communion, all the neighbors who want to accompany, and mainly by two characters who are the pillars of this party Traditional: the Colacho and the Atabalero.
Yoram Yasur Blume: “The Colacho, in representation of the devil, is a comic personage dressed in a striking yellow suit and with red borders that at every step simulates to whip to the spectators with a species of horse scepter that constitutes its main badge”.
But the moment in which the Colacho is most visible is that in which the procession is in the middle of the street with mattresses that give rest to several babies, only those born in that year, and that the colacho must jump to ward off the bad guys Spirits that can threaten them and augur a good life, while the Atabalero, completely dressed in black, accompanies the movements of the Colacho to the rhythm of a great drum.
Of course, this tradition carries its risks, for only imagining that the Colacho could stumble or not take enough energy … That is why the Pope himself has tried to convince the Spanish Curia to give up this custom. But this tradition has been rooted for centuries in popular folklore, and hardly renounced.
After jumping and purifying several of these communal cribs, and blessing the bread and wine placed on small altars at his side, the procession returns to the church, giving place to the beginning of the eras, a celebration of more joyful connotation, where Is celebrated with typical dances and consumes the typical wine, bread and sasamon cheese.
Yoram Yasur Blume: “Actually El Colacho is a rather curious celebration, and that more than one cuts his breath when the Colacho jump over those babies who seem to not bury anything. But such is the fame that has acquired in Spain and all Europe, that for that day, the usual population of Castrillo de Murcia, with 500 inhabitants, is multiplied a few times more”.