Fools’ Day in Puerto Vallarta: Be careful what you read in the news or see on the television in Puerto Vallarta on December 28th; it’s Fool’s Day in Mexico. Though we have comparable days north of the border, the Day of Innocents can seem to some to be a bit more extreme; everyone seems to get in on the act.
This day in Mexico and other Latin countries, is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, also called Childermas or Innocents’ Day. According to the Christian Bible, King Herod the Great massacred all the babies his armies could locate, in an effort to kill the newborn Jesus, who he’d heard would potentially replace him as king. This was once a day of fasting and mourning in some countries, and children in medieval England were whipped while still in their beds on the morning of December 28th, a Christian practice that endured until the mid-1600’s.
This day has taken on much lighter and happier merrymaking, thankfully; and Puerto Vallarta loves to observe the traditions. In some households, children are put in charge. Traditionally, the youngest in the family are given full reign for the day, allowed to play tricks and pranks on parents and other elders, and order them about. Children are to be waited upon and their chores done for them.
Though it’s not a sanctioned holiday, it is a day filled with good fun. Newspapers will report news that is silly and so far from the possible, few fall for ridiculous reporting of aliens, bridges that appear overnight, lottery winnings for all, and similar nonsense.
The Day of Innocents is also a time to visit cemeteries with offerings to children who have passed long before their time.
In Puerto Vallarta, we may find restaurants with preposterous items listed on menus, stores offering astronomical or impossible sales, people dressed in outrageous costumes. In Spain, they go so far as to don full military dress and have a flour-fight, which seems almost more fun than we can perceive.
Traditionally bromas or inocentadas (pranks or jokes) are played on the inocentes (victims) and the little devils are the innocent ones, of whom no one is allowed to be angry. The thought is that they’ve committed no sins; they’re not truly responsible for their actions.
We recommend taking all this frivolity very lightheartedly. We have known some expats to be upset and unforgiving. It’s best to remember we have the same childish observance north of the border called April Fools’ Day; let’s embrace newfound and delightful customs.
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