Blessings for the newborn

Castrillo de Murcia, Spain

Every year the village of Castrillo de Murcia in northern Spain holds its Fiesta del Colacho. The main event falls on a Sunday, when all the infants who have been born during the year are laid out on mattresses for El Colacho, the devil incarnate, to jump over them. This is intended to protect them against evil and give them a good, healthy life.


Sprinkled with rose petals, an infant lies on the mattress after being jumped over by El Colacho.


Behind El Colacho walk the austerely dressed Christian brotherhood who organize the fiesta. The drumbeats urge the villagers to remain god-fearing, but El Colacho distracts the crowd’s attention by banging his outsized castanets.

El Colacho chasing youths

The oxtail-tipped stick, with which El Colacho bangs his castanets, also serves as a whip. With it he chases the youngsters of the village, who mock and tease him.


While parents hold their babies still, El Colacho jumps over the children born during the year, removing the evil he represents. Then it is on to the next jumping station, where a fresh set of mattresses and children are waiting.

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