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Baby Jumping Festival & Rites of Passage
June 21, 2003 5:38 AM   Subscribe

Jumping over babies - on June 22 in Burgos, Spain, parents will dress newborn babies in finery and lay them in the street so that a man dressed as the devil can leap over them. It's an age-old ritual. Many cultures have colorful ceremonial rites of passage marked by festivals - have you come upon any in your travels?
posted by madamjujujive (20 comments total)

 
Great topic for a post, juju! I'll be following this thread closely. I'm sorry I have no memories worth speaking of, except the exquisite rite de passage that exists in Berlin, whereby Michael Jackson dangles his newborn from the window of the city's best hotel.

How very strange this Burgos tradition is! You'd never find Portuguese mommies laying down their babies like that. Why can't the Spaniards function culturally without the presence of danger and the spectre of blood being spilled? ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:00 AM on June 21, 2003


In my area we have a someaht similar tradition. We line up naked girls, 18-20 years of age. Young men must jump over their naked bodies. If by chance you do not make it over them but instead land on one, you must marry her. Over the years it has become fashionable for the best looking girls to plant themselves in the middle so the ugly ones are more likely to get "hit on." This encourages the men to make big leaps.
posted by Postroad at 6:13 AM on June 21, 2003


Intellectually thinking: The horrific story "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson immediately sprung to mind; largely unquestioned traditions and customs that continue on because of locally held beliefs or fear of the circumstances of change.

Emotionally thinking: Oh my god! Somebody help the cute little babies! Mr. Devil Man, please don't squash the cute little babies! Why can't you just jump over photographs of the cute little babies? I hope that you practiced this a few times before you went out and actually jumped over the cute little babies!

Detachedly thinking: I want his outfit.

Postroad: So did you land in the middle, towards the end, or did you make it all the way across? Expect lots of emails asking for directions to your town ;)
posted by iconomy at 6:18 AM on June 21, 2003


Great picture.
posted by Sijeka at 6:20 AM on June 21, 2003


In Wisconsin, college students celebrate the transition to adulthood by throwing a "Wapatuli" party in which mass quantities of different varieties of hard liquor are poured willy-nilly into a garbage can, then consumed until alcohol poisoning and death occur. Consequently, only the largest and most robust survive into adulthood.

In neighboring Minnesota, weaker specimens are weeded out by the Ordeal of Lutefisk.

Uff da!

P.S. mjjj, remind me to post something about the Catalonian Christmas tradition, of "beating the shit log" sometime.
posted by MrBaliHai at 7:11 AM on June 21, 2003


Italian's do this crazy greasy pole contest. They dress up in ridiculous outfits, then launch themselves over a greased up telephone pole in search of fame, glory, and the flag at the end. It's in honor (mpg, and they're chanting in sicilian if you're wondering) of St. Peter, the patron saint of fisherman. I've been told that usually the pole is vertical, but here it's over the water and horizontal. And this wasn't discovered by me in any of my travels, rather I live right down the street from it.
posted by krazykity16 at 7:27 AM on June 21, 2003


Looking at that first picture it's good to see ELvis finally found his true calling.
posted by PenDevil at 8:16 AM on June 21, 2003


why krazykitty16, thanks for the great links - that's within driving distance for me, yet I never heard about it...I've been to some of the Italian festivals in the North End of Boston, those are great, but this looks a bit more unusual.

Never been to an event like Postroad described, but I think I have been at similar events to Mr. BaliHai's Wapatuli. Pleased to say I survived.

Interesting associations, iconomy! And please always share your detached thoughts - haha.

Miguel, no Portuguese fests? What about the curious and ever-popular annual scaring of the tourists?
posted by madamjujujive at 8:28 AM on June 21, 2003


Uff da!

Huffameg!
posted by spazzm at 9:14 AM on June 21, 2003


Spain has some of the weirdest and worst in the West. Not surprising for a country which has for years allowed bullfighting contrary to EU law.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:40 AM on June 21, 2003


Before there was an EU, there was bull fighting in Spain. After the EU has gone, there will be bullfighting in Spain.
I think bull fighting ought to be an olympic sport.
posted by Postroad at 9:46 AM on June 21, 2003


I think Dance Dance Revolution ought to be an Olympic sport.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:52 AM on June 21, 2003


Bring back bull leaping!
posted by homunculus at 11:40 AM on June 21, 2003


The Turks do circumcision with great style. It's a massive party for the whole village with a procession and lots of laughter and fun. It's made bittersweet by the sight of the little boy preparing for the ordeal in the most amazing dress.
posted by grahamwell at 1:53 PM on June 21, 2003


Circumcision and Rites of Sexual lnitiation (scroll down a little), especially as practised by Australian Aborigines and East Africans.
posted by plep at 12:23 AM on June 22, 2003


I'm not sure if it's a rite of passage per se, but I once attended the Watermelon Thump Festival in Luling, Texas (home of the World's Largest Watermelon, not to mention the Best. Barbecue. Ever.), where I saw the crowning of the Watermelon Thump Queen.
posted by Vidiot at 12:41 AM on June 22, 2003


Nelson Mandela - after the circumcision ritual. 'That first night, at midnight, an attendant, or khaukatha, crept around the hut, gently waking each of us. We were then instructed to leave the hut and go tramping through the night to bury our foreskins. The traditional reason for this practice was so that our foreskins would be hidden before wizards could use them for evil purposes, but, symbolically, we were also burying our youth. I did not want to leave the warm hut and wander through the bush in the darkness, but I walked into the trees and, after a few minutes, untied my foreskin and buried it in the earth. I felt as though I had now discarded the last remnant of my childhood ... '
posted by plep at 2:16 AM on June 22, 2003


Why can't the Spaniards function culturally without the presence of danger and the spectre of blood being spilled? ;)

Oi toiro! Toiro!

Nunca olvides, mi querido Miguel, !somos medio hermanos!

¡ole!
posted by sic at 1:58 PM on June 22, 2003


juju - if you're really interested in seeing this... erm... event, the links I gave are from a couple of years ago; the festival doesn't start until the 26th this year.

oh and Vidiot - I don't think I'd like anything more than to be referred to as the Watermelon Thump Queen.
posted by krazykity16 at 7:30 PM on June 22, 2003


El Colacho terrorises the children!
posted by eddydamascene at 7:49 PM on June 22, 2003


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