Here in the U.S., few would fathom putting their newborn child on a mattress in the middle of a public arena, and allowing a stranger, dressed as a "devil," to jump over their kiddo. But in a village called Castrillo de Murcia in Northern Spain, parents make a point to do just this. It's a ritual and a part of a religious ceremony that dates back to medieval times.
When a man in a bright yellow outfit runs, then performs "El Salto del Colacho," or Devil's Jump, over mattress after mattress holding babies who have been born within the past year, he's said to save their souls. It's part of a pageant, which marks the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi.
Of course, we look at this and think, "OMG, that's totally crazy!" And yeah, I'm sure there are some definite risks involved in the custom. But how is this any different from some of the traditions we participate every year?
There's plenty of debate surrounding the Jewish tradition of circumcising a newborn boy during a bris. What about baptizing a newborn? Both of these traditions are potentially dangerous, too, and non-Judeo-Christian cultures might think we're insane for doing either.
And it's not like there aren't tons of other non-religious customs or traditions that fall into this same category. Blowing off fireworks for the Fourth? Making binge drinking such a focal point of a 21st birthday? Watching a ball drop to signify the beginning of the New Year?
If we hadn't grown up in a culture where these these traditions were considered the norm, we might think they're as nuts as some guy jumping over newborns in an outfit the color of Big Bird.
The bottom-line: Just because we don't recognize or relate to a tradition from another culture doesn't mean we should pass judgment on it. Just some food for thought!
Here's a video that shows exactly how the baby-jumping goes down ...
What do you think about "El Salto del Colacho" -- crazy or just something we're not used to because it's not a part of our culture?
Image via Andrew Malone/Flickr