The story of the massacre that gave rise to April Fools’ Day, 2,000 years ago

A medieval tradition gave the playful and joking touch to April Fool’s Day, however, the origin of this date is much darker.

“Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you; because Herod He is going to look for the child to kill him”, thus José was warned in a dream of the tragedy that would give way to the Day of the Innocents.

Within the framework of the December traditions, derived from Christian history, enters the Day of the Innocentsa date whose origin dates back to the events that occurred around the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

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Popularly, the referred occasion is associated with meanings and acts that are far from the cause that gave rise to the commemoration. The story behind this day is that of a slaughter carried out by the orders of a king. However, over the years, the moment was acquiring other meanings. This is what we know on the subject.

The dark origin of April Fool’s Day

The April Fool’s Day story has as its main testimony the Gospel of Matthew, part of the New Testament. The text quotes micaha prophet who at the end of the century VIII BC. he predicted the birth of a man, in Bethlehem, who would become king of the Jews.

The next chapter occurred several centuries after the prophecy. In the days surrounding the birth of Jesus, Herod the Great was the king of Judea.. For that period, some wise men from the East were heading, guided by a star, to the place where they knew the event would occur. birth of the new king.

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Learning of the journey that these men, who would later be known as the wise menHerod asked the travelers to let him know the exact location where the child would be born, as he also wanted to “celebrate” the arrival of the announced being.

Day of the Innocents
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However, in the dreams of Josepha appeared Angel who warned the boy’s father that he had to go to Egypt in order to prevent him from being in danger from the Herod’s true intentions. Following the revelation, once the wise men found the newborn they decided not to inform the king of Judea about the whereabouts of the family.

Feeling a victim of betrayal by the wise, Herod resolved that he had to make way for a massacre.: the order was to take the lives of all children two years and under. The current king, fearful of the probable loss of power, managed to make his plan come true, leading to the death of the infants of Bethlehem.

December 28 and the “festival of the crazy”

Although the Day of the Innocents commemorates the December 28ththe Catholic Encyclopedia mentions that it is impossible to establish the day or year in which this event took place. However, the Church remembers on this date the murdered children (Innocent saints), as martyrs.

According to the cited encyclopedia, the Latin Church established this commemoration on an unknown day, although it is estimated that it was “not before the end of the fourth century and not after the end of the fifth century”.

It was decided on December 28th As the Day of the Innocents because this date occurs within the eighth of christmas. Given this condition, these children are remembered in that period for being directly related to the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

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On the other hand, the history of Day of the Innocents is not complete without the “fool party”. From here, the date was adding one more sense. In Medieval Europe the mentioned festivity was celebrated. This was driven by the boreal wintertime located between the last month of the year and the first of the following.

Throughout those days, the people who worked in the fields saw a stage arrive where leisure was the constant. In such circumstances, the “fool party”, a celebration where people left all rigor behind and made a parody of social conventions. From here, the Day of the Innocents he was involved in this framework of jokes that would later accompany the occasion.

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The story of the massacre that gave rise to April Fools’ Day, 2,000 years ago – National Geographic