28 de Diciembre, día de los Santos Inocentes Posted by on Dec 29, 2011 in Spanish Culture

El 28 de Diciembre es un día en que debemos tener cuidado desde que nos levantamos, ya que se celebra el Día de los Santos Inocentes, y es muy probable que algún amigo o conocido intente gastarnos una broma. También debemos estar atentos para no prestar dinero, ya que pueden devolvérnoslo a través de esta cancioncilla:

“Herodes mandó a Pilatos,
Pilatos mandó a su gente,
Y el que presta en este día
Pasará por inocente.”

O la que más se usaba en mi casa: “Que los Santos Inocentes te lo paguen…” Lo que quiere decir que no nos van a devolver ni un duro.

Como para tantas otras fiestas, existen dos orígenes diferentes, uno religioso y otro pagano. El origen religioso recuerda la terrible matanza ordenada por Herodes para intentar asesinar al niño Jesús, al sentir su reinado amenazado. Pero resulta extraño relacionar este trágico acontecimiento con un día en que la broma y la tomadura de pelo imperan, y esto nos lleva a la segunda explicación. Durante la edad media, en los días previos al 31 de Diciembre, la gente dejaba un poco al margen sus labores, y se divertían gastando bromas, y asumiendo el papel de las autoridades políticas y religiosas. Esta fiesta, llamada la “fiesta de los locos”, sí parece más similar a la actual.

Inocentadas tradicionales son las de emitir  noticias en los medios de comunicación que resultan ser falsas; y en casa, cambiar el azúcar por la sal durante el desayuno, dar caramelos o bombones rellenos de ingredientes poco agradables, o andar por la calle o la oficina con un monigote blanco colgado a la espalda si alguno de tus compañeros de trabajo es lo suficientemente hábil para colocarlo sin que se note. Y vosotros, ¿tenéis alguna inocente víctima a quien gastar una broma? Ya me contaréis.

We have to be very careful on the 28th of December since the moment we get up, because it is Feast of the Holy Innocents, and it is very likely that some friend or acquaintance tries to play a joke on us. We also have to be very careful not to lend money, as they can come back to us with this song:

” Herod sent Pilatus,
Pilatus sent his people,
And the one who lends in this day
Will pass for innocent. “

Or the one which was most used at home: “The Holy Innocents will pay you back…“ which means that they are not going to give you back a single coin.

As for so many other holidays, there are two different origins, the religious and the pagan one. The religious origin commemorates the terrible slaughter ordered by Herod to try to murder baby Jesus, as he felt his reign was threatened. But it seems a bit strange to relate this tragic event with one day in which jokes and the mockery prevail, and this leads us to the second explanation. During the middle ages, in the days before December 31st, people set aside their work, and they enjoyed themselves playing jokes, and assuming the role of the political and religious authorities. This holiday, named the “Feast of Fools”, seems to be more similar to the current one.

Traditional fools’ jokes are news broadcast in the mass media that turn out to be false; and at home, to swap the sugar and salt during breakfast, to give candies or chocolates with slightly unpleasant fillings, or to walk on the street or the office with a white paper doll hanging from your back if one of your workmates is skilful enough to put it there without you noticing it. And you, do you have any innocent victim to play a joke on? I hope you will tell me.


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About the Author: Magda

Hi all! I’m Magda, a Spanish native speaker writing the culture posts in the Transparent Language Spanish blog. I have a Bachelor’s in English Philology and a Master’s in Linguistics and Literature from the University of Granada, in Spain. I have also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and then worked as an English teacher in several schools and academies for several years. Last year was my first at university level. In addition, I work as a private tutor, teaching English and Spanish as a foreign language to students and adults. In my free time, I’m an avid reader and writer, editing and collaborating in several literary blogs. I have published my first poetry book recently. And last but not least, I love photography!


  1. Margaret Nahmias:

    Just like our April Fools.

  2. Magda:

    Exactly…both of them are connected with the Medieval Festival of Fools, but I think the religious origin is not present in April Fools, am I right?