Originally a religious holiday to commemorate the innocent victims slaughtered by King Herod in Bethlehem while searching for the Christ Child Jesus,today Dia de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents) in Mexico has evolved into a type of April Fool’s Day with a twist.
Dating back to 1673 in Mexico,this special holiday in Mexico is historically a Catholic tradition. Still celebrated on December 28 by the Catholic Church to commemorate Herod’s crimes,in Mexico the holiday has changed in modern times to include the custom of pulling pranks on unsuspecting friends and family members.
For example,it’s not advisable to lend objects or money to someone on this day,as it is accepted practice for the “borrower” to “forget” to return the items or repay the loan – at least for a while! In fact,there is an overriding feeling that naïve individuals somehow “deserve” to be tricked,and much joy is taken in the process. Even the media takes part,and it is not unusual for untrue stories to be aired or published to poke fun at current events – even if they are somewhat serious – in an attempt to mislead the public.
Although undoubtedly a bit raucous at times,the shenanigans surrounding Dia de los Inocentes in Mexico are all in good fun,and safety is an important part of the tradition. In addition,many cemeteries and local townspeople still make special offerings to honor the souls of all departed children. In fact,the day is also celebrated in churches worldwide and can be traced back to a pagan holiday in Europe known as Feast of Fools,which somehow merged in Spain,Mexico and other Latin American countries to include a pranking element,perhaps to represent the innocence of the children Herod murdered and the foolishness of his actions.
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