Oh baby, it's a leap of faith

It is an odd tradition that dates back to 1620.

No one knows how it started but to this day, once a year in the northern Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia, parents lay their babies out on the street to take part in what is known as the baby jumping festival (El Colacho) to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi.

Men wearing bright yellow costumes and grotesque masks representing the devil move through the crowd, whipping the audience into a frenzy, as parents arrange their little ones side by side on pillows and mattresses.

Each "devil" then runs down the street and hurdles over the row of bawling babies. Villagers believe that the "devils" absorb the babies' sins as they jump over them.

The babies are then sprinkled with rose petals before being taken away by their parents, who are likely very relieved.

Traditionally, only babies from the local village would take part, but in recent years, visitors from around the world have also participated in the festival.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2018, with the headline 'Oh baby, it's a leap of faith'. Print Edition | Subscribe