Feast of the Holy Innocents, also called Childermas or Innocents’ Day, is a Christian feast in remembrance of the massacre of young children in Bethlehem by King Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus (Matthew 2:16–18). The feast is observed by Western churches on December 28 and in the Eastern churches on December 29. The slain children were regarded by the early church as the first martyrs, but it is uncertain when the day was first kept as a saint’s day.
In medieval England children were reminded of the mournfulness of the day by being whipped in bed in the morning; this custom survived into the 17th century.
The day is still observed as a religious feast day and, in Roman Catholic countries, as a day of merrymaking for children.
But in Mexico, Día de los Santos Inocentes (Saint Innocents’ Day), is somehow equivalent to the American tradition of “April Fools’ Day”, a day for playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes.
The jokes and their victims are called “Inocentes“. People playing Día de los Santos Inocentes’ jokes often expose their prank by shouting “Inocente palomita que te dejaste engañar” (Inocent little dove that let yourself be fooled) at the unfortunate victim(s).
Just as a precaution, The Yucatan Times Newsroom recommends you not to lend money or other belongings on this day to a Mexican (because you might never see them back).
Some newspapers, magazines, websites and other media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day or below the news section in smaller letters.
Although popular since the 19th century, Día de los Santos Inocentes is not an official holiday in Mexico.
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