The Spanish April Fool’s Day

The 28th of December in Spain and in Latin America is El Día de los Santos Inocentes.

In the same way as April Fool’s Day, on this day people play jokes on one another, so anything a bit unusual can happen to anyone at any time of the day.

Kids in the schools, people in work and in the streets, families at home and even the TV and the radio play ‘innocent’ jokes solely with the purpose of having a healthy laugh.

The paper dummy stuck on people’s backs is one of the typical jokes on this day, as well as changing the time on clocks, money glued onto the pavement, fake phone calls about many subjects such as infidelities, pretend fires, changing salt for sugar, and many others.

On this day, radio and TV always make an unexpected but somehow credible announcement that people have no option but to believe at the time, only later to find out it wasn’t true.

Curiously, the origin of the Santos Inocentes comes from a chapter in the bible referring to the massacre of all children aged under two, ordered by Herod.

Once again, an originally Christian and serious topic is reverted into a humorous or more irreverent tradition, as with Halloween. Though the origin of the word Halloween is Christian, the holiday is commonly thought to have pagan roots (Celtic).

While the nature of the joking is meant to be lighthearted, in recent years El dia de los Santos Inocentes has also been hijacked by some scammers, so special attention should be paid to jokes related to money.

There is a Spanish movie called Los Santos Inocentes based in a book of the writer Miguel Delibes that describes the rural Spain of the 1960s and the tyrannical behaviour of landowners towards the uneducated and socially excluded peasants.

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