Holy Innocents Day
In the New Testament, the Massacre of the Innocents refers to the Gospel of Matthew (2:16–18) in which Herod the Great, king of Judea, orders the execution of all male children two years old and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem. The Catholic Church regards them as the first Christian martyrs, and their feast – Holy Innocents Day (or the Feast of the Holy Innocents) – is celebrated on 28 December.
Holy Innocents Day History
King Herod heard from the three wise men that the king of Bethlehem will be born. This made him feel threatened. He directed the wise men to Bethlehem asking them to report back once they knew the whereabouts of this infant so that he could go and worship him. After their encounter with Infant Jesus, the wise men were warned in a dream not to return back to Herod as he had lied about his intentions.
Feeling betrayed Herod ordered the execution of all male children who were under two years. The early church regarded the children. Who were executed as the first of many martyred saints. It is a day of mourning and fasting in Rome. The Christians were expected to avoid eating meat or food cooked in fat. Children were allowed to sit at the head of the table or make all the decisions for the day.
Holy Innocents Feast Day
The Western churches observed the Feast Of Holy Innocents on December 28th whereas the Eastern Churches observe it on December 29th. In England, the day came to be known as Childermas as the merging of the words children and mass. In many cultures, this day is considered an unlucky day and was called the “cross day of the year” by the Irish.
In countries like Spain and Mexico, December 28 is similar to April Fool’s Day where children prank the elders. In some countries children get their toys blessed. A feast and mass prayer is also observed in memory of those infants that were massacred. On this day people also work in their communities to raise awareness of crimes against children such as child labor and child trafficking and exploitation.