Holy Innocents’ Day is observed annually on December 28. According to the Biblical narrative in the book of Matthew, the special day is observed by Christians to remember the loss of the innocent male children who were executed in Bethlehem. Holy Innocents’ Day is also known as the Feast of the Holy Innocent Day or Childermas. As we observe the Holy Innocents’ Day 2022 or the Feast of the Holy Innocent Day or Childermas 2022, here’s all you need to know about its history and significance. 12 Days of Christmas Significance: Know All About When the Days Begin, Their Association With the Christmas Carol and How They Are Celebrated.
History of Holy Innocents’ Day
The commemoration of the massacre of the Holy Innocents, traditionally regarded as the first Christian martyrs, first appears as a feast of the Western church in the Leonine Sacramentary, dating from about 485. The history of Holy Innocents’ Day is part of the nativity narrative in the Gospel of Mathew in the Bible, which describes Herod’s violence.
According to history, the angry King Herod was very angry that the prophesied King of Jews had escaped him and hence ordered the murder of all boys under the age of two in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas where Jesus was supposed to be. This story of the massacre is found in no gospel other than Matthew, nor is it mentioned in the surviving works of Nicolaus of Damascus, nor in Josephus’s Antiquities of the Jews.
The event is alluded to by Macrobius, pagan writing in the early 5th century as “On hearing that the son of Herod, king of the Jews, had been slain when Herod ordered that all boys in Syria under the age of two be killed, [Augustus] said, ‘It’s better to be Herod’s pig than his son”. As per historical records, by the 5th century, Holy Innocents Day had become a festival by itself. In Ancient Rome, it was a traditional day of fasting and mourning.
Significance of Holy Innocents’ Day
Over the years, there have been many changes in how Holy Innocents’ Day has been celebrated worldwide. From mourning to being a part of the Feast of Fools, which was a day when children were encouraged to have fun and play pranks.
Holy Innocents’ Day 2022 has great significance as the day gives people an opportunity to raise awareness regarding the atrocities against children, including social evils like child labour, by organizing seminars and public platforms.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 28, 2022 08:00 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).