Día de los Santos Inocentes

Día de los Santos Inocentes

innocentesDecember 28

The Slaughter of the Innocents Daniele da Volterra, painter and sculptor, Mannerist Italian, 1509-1566, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Day of the Innocents

While religious in origin, this day has morphed into a Spanish version of April Fool’s Day. Like many customs and holidays it has its own special twists that make this day in Mexico special and different from the rest of North America.


This day commemorates the innocent victims that were slaughtered by King Harod who killed all male children less than two years of age in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill the Christ Child. The story was told from the Gospel of Matthew (2, 13-13) These children died as martyrs in place of Jesus.

The dates as well as the story is disputed by many historians, however the Catholic Church commemorates this event on December 28.

Today – Commemoration, Pranks and Jokes

While there continues to be a commemoration of the children that perished under Harod’s hand, the holiday or the custom has significantly changed to include pranks. In Spain and Spanish speaking countries it is customary to make jokes on this day similar to those on April Fool’s day.

In Mexico it is important to NOT to lend any objects or money as the borrower can freely appropriate the goods.  It is usually concluded with a saying calling the lender an “innocent dove” and that he somehow deserves to be tricked.

The media has a particularly interesting role on this day. It is fair game to misrepresent stories throughout the paper and make fun – mock – even serious situations. The intention is to mislead the reader.

(On a Personal note, Bill and Dorothy Bell wrote a story on December 28 about Bill Gates purchasing a whole beach on the Riviera Nayarit for his personal home. Years later a credible news source quoted from that story and embellished the “facts.”


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