Last modified 01/20/2024

Innocents Day :

In the festivities calendar, there is a date know as “Innocents Day”, which is celebrated on December 28 every year. As the name suggests, its purpose is making fools of many people, and playing practical jokes on them.

But its origins are debatable .Catholics argue that on a similar date King Herod I ordered the killing of children under two years of age, that is innocent children. But in recent years there is a different version: it is all about a King Herod Agrippa’s practical joke, grandson of King Herod I, as he celebrated his reign’s 30th anniversary.

King Herod I enacted an edict ordering the murder of children less than two years of age recorded in a census in the city of Bethlehem. It responded to a prediction that one of them would become King of the Jew (he was looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who had fled from Bethlehem with his parents). Thirty years after that edict, Herod I’s grandson and King of Chalcis, Herod Agrippa II wanted to celebrate his reign´s 30th anniversary with a weeklong party, and he invited friends, foes and subjects.

At dawn on the last day (December 28), the King of Chalcis, Herod Agrippa II issued a series of edicts ordering death, jail, exile and other punishments for many of his guests. As they woke up and still under the influence of the drinks they had had, the visitors were surprised to find out about the edicts. The king´s soldiers stopped them as they tried to escape in terror and had to give out their gifts.

There is historic evidence that each of those individual edicts had just one word: innocens, which proves King Herod Agrippa II´s fame as a lover of practical jokes.
This date was thus set as a festivity know as Innocents Day in the Spanish-speaking world. Some newspapers even have unpredictable, shocking and false headlines that are later refuted in the inner pages with the phrase “so much for your innocence”.

It was a custom in Latin America to borrow something, either a good or money, on December 28 and not give it back, using the same phrase. But these actions have become a chance to play practical jokes on friends and family; but if someone still wants to keep something they borrowed, they will have to give it back along with candies or toys, according to tradition.

In the English-speaking world, i.e. England and the United States, this festivity is also celebrated, and it is known as April Fool´s Day, and the date is April 1 every year. France has the same date to celebrate, i.e. April 1 every year. Some versions date this festivity on the Middle Ages: at the start of carnivals, debauchery was let loose and no one was responsible for anything. The means to play practical jokes have also become global and modern: nowadays Twitter and Facebook are often used to send hoaxer instant messages.

It must be noted that if someone plays practical jokes on Innocents Day, they run the risk of getting an unexpected lesson. Thus, jokes should only be played on people we know well, so not to be upset. Try to be as ingenious as you can, and if you are looking for new jokes, go to any online search engine and refresh your repertoire.

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

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