Thursday, December 28, 2006

"Holy Innocents, Batman!"

Just before seven this morning, I turned 52. Before the end of the day, actor Denzel Washington will have done the same. Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American test-tube baby, turns 25 today. For what it's worth, former President Woodrow Wilson would be 150. Many other important people were born on this day, and are listed here.

Triumph of the Innocents, by William Holman Hunt, 1883-4
Triumph of the Innocents, by William Holman Hunt, 1883-4

Today is also when the Church remembers the infants of Bethlehem who were ordered assassinated by King Herod, in his vain attempt to eliminate a newborn "king of the Jews" (Mt 2:16-17). The Feast of the Holy Innocents, also known as "Childermas Day," is one where the youngest child has a place of honor. Children are traditionally served oatmeal, pureed fruits, or other kinds of baby food, particularly the youngest. Alternatives include a light-colored pudding with a red strawberry or raspberry sauce as a reminder of the blood of the martyrs. In some Spanish-speaking countries, it is also a day for children's games along the lines of our own "April Fools Day," or of hiding in closets until the grownups pay a "ransom." (Information courtesy of Women for Faith & Family and Fisteaters.)

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