Monday, Dec. 28 is the fourth day of Christmas. The hallmark of this day is commemorating the baby boys slain in Bethlehem on orders from King Herod who feared that a claimant to his throne was among them.
Known now as the Feast of the Holy Innocents, this is an ancient observance which once went by the name Childermass and had many customs associated with it.
Some of them are still celebrated today. One of my favorite websites, fisheaters.com, reports that in many countries, the youngest child “rules” the day deciding the food, drinks, music and entertainment everyone will enjoy.
In Spain and Latino countries including Mexico, Childermass is like April Fools Day in America and France. Tricks are pulled and the one tricked is called “Innocente” instead of an “April Fool!” In some countries it’s the thing for children to play tricks on their elders who often end up locked inside rooms until they pay a ransom.
It’s also customary to bless the children in the home on this day.
Blessing of Children
Father or Mother: O Lord hear my prayer.
All: And let my cry come unto thee.
Father or Mother: Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, once thou embraced and placed thy hands upon the little children who came to thee and said: “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not for theirs is the kingdom of heaven and their angels always see the face of my Father.” Look now with fatherly eyes on the innocence of these children and their parents’ devotion and bless them this day through our prayers.
The parent signs the forehead of each child with holy water.
Father or Mother: In thy grace and goodness let them advance continually, longing for thee, loving thee, fearing thee and keeping they commandments. Then they surely will come to their destined home, through thee, savior of the world who lives and reigns forever and ever.
Father or Mother: May God bless you and may he keep your hearts and minds – in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
After the blessing, celebrate with a nice desert. Fisheaters recommended one topping vanilla pudding or ice cream with red sauce, a color that would recall the blood of the martyrs.
This easy recipe for raspberry sauce is adapted from their web site.
Ingredients: 10 oz pkg. frozen raspberries; 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Directions: Thaw and crush raspberries and puree with the sugar. Blend well and strain to remove the seeds and chill before serving over rice pudding, vanilla pudding or ice cream with a dollop of whipped cream.