December 28 is known as the Day of the Holy Innocents, in memory of the children massacred by King Herod in his attempt to eliminate the Messiah. But did you know that this date has also been considered an unlucky day since ancient times?
According to Christian tradition, December 28 is the day when Herod, the king of Judea, ordered the killing of all boys under the age of two in Bethlehem and its surroundings, upon learning about the birth of Jesus Christ. This massacre is recounted in the Gospel according to Matthew and is commemorated by the Catholic Church as the Day of the Holy Innocents, the first martyrs of the Christian faith.
But this ominous date predates Christianity. Even among the Romans, December 28 was the last day of the Saturnalia, festivities in honor of the god Saturn, marked by celebrations, banquets, and gift exchanges. However, the last day was also a time for settling accounts, paying debts, and making sacrifices. It was, therefore, a dreaded day, feared for divine wrath and bad luck.
In the Middle Ages, December 28 was also a day of mourning and penance, where one refrained from any secular activity. It was considered unlucky to start working, embark on new ventures, or do anything on that day. It was said that anything undertaken on December 28 was destined for failure or ruin.
Today, December 28 has lost its sinister character in most countries. It has even become a day of joking in some Spanish-speaking countries, similar to April 1st in France. It is the day of "Santos Inocentes," which translates to both Holy Innocents and Naive Saints.
However, there are still places where December 28 is a day to avoid. For example, in Sicily, people do not get married on December 28, as it is believed to bring misfortune to the couple. Gifts are also not exchanged on this day, as it is thought that they will be cursed or returned.
So, is December 28 really a cursed day? There is no scientific evidence that this day is more prone to misfortune than others. But it is certain that this date is laden with history and superstition, and it has left a mark on people's minds for millennia.