All Fools’ Day: How Spain marks Dia de los Santos Inocentes

DECEMBER 28, Spain marks the Dia de los Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents’ Day) which is somewhat similar to April Fools’ Day.

It’s the day to look out for practical jokes and spoof news stories.

But the origins of the day are a little more morbid. It’s called the Day of the Holy Innocents because it commemorates the biblical tale of the killing of all male children under the age of 2 by King Herod in Bethlehem.

He did to wipe out the threat posed by newborn Jesus.

Massacre of the Innocents - Maestà by Duccio - Museo dell'Opera del Duomo - Siena 2016
Massacre of the Innocents – Maestà by Duccio – Museo dell’Opera del Duomo – Siena 2016

Historians aren’t sure about whether this truly happened, but at some point during Medieval times the mourning for this infanticide among Christians turned into celebration. 

These days it has evolved and in Spain it’s a day to play tricks on people.

The jokes are called “Inocentadas” and there are usually spoof reports on the television news channels.

There’s also an annual charity event called “Gala Inocente, Inocente” and look out for the hurling of eggs at friends or neighbours.

There’s also a flour battle that takes place in Ibi, Valencia, and a “Crazy People’s Dance” in Jalance, Valencia.

There are other regional festivities across Spain, such as in Setiles, Castilla-La Mancha, a devil walks around the town and the children try to pull his tail. 

But wherever you are in Spain today, look out for pranksters and check out our list of the most common tricks that befall the innocent on this day.

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