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Day of the Innocent Saints

The Massacre of the Innocents by Rubens (1638) José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro

Why is 'April Fool's Day' celebrated on December 28 in Spain?

Every year on December 28, Spain and Latin America commemorates Día de los Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents' Day) as an opportunity to play tricks on the naïve. However, it is a tradition of more than 2,000 years and with a tragic origin. Every December 28, the pranksters have fun with their jokes that range from black humor to white lies and false and dramatic news [although how you tell the difference these days is a mystery].

However, the more than two thousand year tradition has a tragic origin. The "Day of the Innocents" began as the Catholic feast of the "Innocent Children", in commemoration of the slaughter of all children under two years ordered by Herod upon learning that the Messiah had been born.

Over time, the pagan tradition took away the tragic aspect until it became the "Day of the Holy Innocents": an opportunity to play tricks on the naïve.

El Día de Los Santos Inocentes, falls on the 28th December, which is the Spanish equivalent of April Fool's Day, when jokes abound and tricks will be played. 

December 28 in the Catholic church commemorates the assassination of all the male babies - The Innocent Saints - on Herod's orders in a vain attempt to kill the child Jesus. Since the Middle Ages, the sacrilegious have remembered this mournful event with humour and, the tradition has continued. In olden days, bakers made salted tarts, people nailed coins to the floor, etc. The most usual was to cut out a paper effigy and stick it to the back of a passer-by, which they would wear without knowing and, many people will make jokes in bad taste.

At Ibi, near Benidorm on the Costa Blanca on the Spanish mainland, workers from the local toy factory (in fancy dress) take over the administration of justice in the streets from 9 a.m. to midday. Any 'fines' they collect (extort) will go to charities and, they are not subtle: they have been known to handcuff the bank manager and have removed the wheels from a vehicle. Even the police won't stop them.

On TV and in the newspapers in Spain, bogus stories will appear (a UFO terrorizes the Royal Palace; the President runs off with the daughter of the opposition leader; a new planet has been discovered; all cars with registration ending in 7 must report to the police, etc., etc.), only some of which are later acknowledged to be "inocentadas" - hoaxes in the name of Los Santos Inocentes.

Tenerife Land of Eternal Christmas

Sunbathing SantaDesert Island ChristmasScuba Diving SantaTropical Santa
Santa's Having a Whale of a TimeSurfing SantaWaterski SantaCamel Rodeo Santa
With a wide range of products in each design, click the pics (above) to see the full selections.