One of the most popular Christmas traditions in Spanish speaker countries occurs on December 28. The day when everyone can play practical jokes. Is called “el día de los inocentes“ and is equivalent of April Fools’ Day.
This celebration appears to have its origins in an event narrated by the Bible concerning King Herod and the innocents, although over the centuries it has evolved to become a more cheerful day in which even the media usually reports on some outrageous and completely invented news story.
The fooled person is almost always called “inocente“, but in every country there is a different way to say that the person is being played. In Spain, the saying is “¡Inocente, inocente!” (Innocent one, innocent one!). In Mexico, is accompanied by the phrase “Inocente palomita que te dejaste engañar” (Innocent little dove that you let yourself be fooled); in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, “caíste por inocente” (you fell for being innocent.)
Meanwhile in El Salvador is a more colorful religious celebration with floats for a parade adorned with pictures of children representing those in the Biblical story. In Venezuela, the celebrations are a mix of traditions, where parades with people dressed in costumes and multicolored masks, go out to dance in Sanare. They represent the madness of the mothers who lost their children at that time
So, if you read the news in Spanish on December 28, think twice if you find something hard to believe, “no sea usted inocente”, and of course don’t lend money to anyone on that day, you might be the last one to laugh.