A Leap of Faith: Biblical Ideals Meet Folk Ritual in el Salto del Colacho

Jessie Keith (University of Oregon)

El Salto del Colacho—part of a Corpus Christi festival held annually in the small town of Castrillo de Murcia, Spain—is notable for one very unusual reason: it involves a man dressed as the devil jumping over newborn babies, in order to cleanse them of their original sin. This paper examines el Salto del Colacho’s rich history, cultural impacts on local residents, tourism influence, and the tension the festival has created between this small town and the Catholic Church—exploring the role folklore plays when communities blend their pre-Christian roots with modern religious practice.

Part of 02-14 Religious Beliefs, Symbols, and Rituals, Thursday, November 02, 10:30 am–12:30 pm