Today is the feast of the Holy Innocents or Lá Crosta na Bliana or the cross day of the year in Irish. The day was also known as La na Leanbh/ day of the children. In Irish tradition this day was seen as a ill-omened or unlucky day because it commemorated the murder of children by King Herold.
In days gone by in Ireland this day was seen as an unlucky day, so people would do all they could to refrain from beginning any work or commence a new enterprise. If something urgent occurred that necessitated work, such as a burial , to avoid the bad luck the task was to be commenced before midnight of the 27th. According to Danaher if a grave were to be dug on this day the sod must be turned the previous evening (Danaher 1972, 258).
He also says that
In many places the ominous character of the day continued through the coming year. Thus, if 28th of December fell upon Monday all Mondays were unlucky, and similarly for all other days of the week (Danaher 1972, 258).
I had never come across this tradition when growing up and when I asked my parents neither remember this so perhaps it had died out in our locality at least 60-70 years ago. I would be very interested to know if any of you were familiar with this old superstition or keep to it today. For some non Irish traditions for this day, Spainish and Mexican
Danaher, K. 1972. The Year in Ireland. Irish Calendar Customs. Mercier Press.
Interesting…I knew of the story but not any traditions associated with the 28th.
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