Tag Archives: Holy Innocents

Holy Innocents Day

“En Latinoamérica, diciembre 28th es también conocido como el día de los “Santos Inocentes,” el día en el que niños inocentes murieron de acuerdo con la religión Cristiana. Se acostumbra en mi familia hacer una broma en este día en particular. La broma consiste en pedir algo prestado, y si el que pide prestado dice la siguiente frase:

“Inocente palomita, que te has dejado engañar, sabiendo que en este día nada se debe prestar”

….entonces, la posesión del objeto prestado pasa a ser suyo. (La seriedad de esta broma depende de cada miembro de mi familia.)

Ejemplo: (Suponga que hoy es diciembre 28)

-¡Hola hermana! ¿Puedo mover tu carro para poder jugar en el estacionamiento?


-Mmmm… ¿Entonces me prestas tu carro?


-¡Caíste! ¡Inocente palomita!

-¡Ay! ¡Olvidé que hoy es día de los inocentes!

-Así es, y ahora tu carro es mío. Voy a tomar las llaves de mi nuevo carro.

-¡No! ¡Dame mis llaves! ¡Yaaaa!”


“In Hispanic America, December 28th is known as “Holy Innocents” day, the day where innocent children died according to the Christianity. It’s common among my family to play a particular prank during this day. This prank consists of borrowing a special item from a lender and if the borrower says the following saying,

“Naïve little dove, that has let yourself be fooled by me, knowing that today nothing has to be lent”

…then, the ownership of the item is supposedly transferred to the borrower. (The seriousness of this joke depends on the members of my family.)

Example, (Suppose that it’s December 28th)

-Hey Sis! Can I move your car so I can play in the garage?


-Hmmm… can I borrow your car then?


-Gotcha! “Naïve little dove!”

-Oh no! I forgot today is “Holy Innocents” day!

-Yes! Now your car is mine! And I will proceed to take the keys of my new car.

-No! Give me my keys! Stop it!”


The informant is a PhD student at the University of California, studying Electrical Engineering. He is from Mexico City, Mexico, where he was born and lived most of his life. His native tongue is Spanish, but he is fluent in English, as well. He got his undergraduate degree at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, which he graduated from in 2012. He enjoys ballroom dancing in his free time.


The informant was asked to send the collector a description of a holiday celebrated in Mexico that has a particular tradition associated with it. He typed it first in Spanish, then was kind enough to translate it. This tradition is a particular game of his family, that everyone participates in, but he knows of other families who participate in similar games or pranks.


As the informant explains, his family has a prank that they play on each other on Holy Innocents Day. If a member of their family loans them something, then they get to keep it. The example that the informant gives is that he gets his sister to land him her car, then he says the special phrase, and gets to keep her car. He would likely return her car, but there are other members of his family that take this game more seriously and would keep it. This is a popular game of Mexican children, that they get to borrow things from friends or family and, if they say the phrase, then they get to keep the thing.

This arrises from the forbidding of lending on this holy day. Christians, up to at least Shakespeare’s time, were not allowed to lend money or items with interest. Jews took the niche market and became money lenders. This is a major part of the plot in The Merchant of Venice. This rule is not enforced anymore, but the idea of lending is still enough of a forbiddance that it is attached to this holy day.

The actual phrase said to catch someone lending changes from family to family or town to town. Sometimes it is a short song, sometimes just “Naive dove.” The informant, for example, shortens the phrase to “Naive little dove!” instead of staying the full phrase that his family normally uses. The idea of the dove is the symbol of innocence ties into holy Innocents Day. The rest of the phrase just calls the person out on their lending when it is forbidden.