Skip to main content

Day of the Holy Innocents

Day of Holy Innocents

The Day of the Innocents is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and several Hispanic countries as well as the Philippines. It is a day celebrated shortly after Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ and it is a day to honor the innocent children, all younger than 3 years of age, killed by the biblical King Herod, who slaughtered these children in an attempt to prevent Christ from taking his throne.

This holiday was once celebrated similarly to Halloween in Spain, as Spanish children would go door to door asking for sweets. Spanish bakers would even join in the fun by making cakes that were salty rather than sweet.

In recent years, it is celebrated more similarly to April Fools Day: the children, taking on the roles of the innocent children killed by King Herod, play pranks such as replacing sugar with salt and sticking cardboard cut-outs on people’s backs. These pranks are tolerating because the children are innocent, or without sin, like in the biblical tale.

In Mexico, it is also celebrated as a day for pranks and mischief. 

Another common event is the Festival of Masks, celebrated in places such as Hatillo, Puerto Rico

The beauty of this holiday and its variety of celebrations is that it is fun for all ages and genders, a day of wholesome trickery for the whole family. It is a day for everyone to come together and remember a tragic story not with horror and mourning, but with the promise that the lives and innocence of children are valuable. By transforming an act of violence into something pure and whimsical, even the most stoic of adults would find it difficult not to smile.