Why Is the Day of the Holy Innocents Celebrated?

    The Origin of This Commemoration Goes Back to the Perpetrated Slaughter Ordered by King Herod

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    Abelardo Canelo
    I am not only a fluent Spanish-English reader/speaker but also a bi-cultural person who has a broad solid background. I also have a passionate interest in different expressions of music, especially many American styles and their combinations (Folk-Country, Jazz, Pop, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Soul, and so on), dance, stage and screen, and some other forms of artistic expression.

    Every 28th of December, Latin America commemorates this date as an opportunity to play tricks on the naive ones. However, it is a tradition of more than 2 thousand years ago, with a rather tragic origin. Throughout the centuries, the pagan tradition was removing the tragic aspect to date to become it the “Day of the Holy Innocents”.

    But why is this day celebrated? The origin of this commemoration goes back to the massacre perpetrated under King Herod’s orders against hundreds of children under 2 years old.

    According to the story of the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Herod ordered the murder of young children in Bethlehem and its surroundings. He did this after being mocked by the Magi, who returned to their respective countries by another route just not to reveal where the Messiah was.

    Joseph and Mary’s flee to Egypt, saving little baby Jesus from his death ordered by King Herod

    It was in the 4th century that this commemoration was instituted to venerate the children who died as martyrs. Children are remembered not because they died for Christ, but instead of Christ.

    In those days, an angel warned Saint Joseph to flee to Egypt. And so, when Herod’s soldiers arrived, the baby Jesus had already left Bethlehem. However, the army killed all the little “Holy Innocent” children who lived in the city.

    The oriental tradition indicates that the massacre would have occurred on December 29th, but the Latin tradition indicates that it was the 28th.

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