Friday, December 28, 2007

Childermas, or Mass of the Holy Innocents

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
This feast commemorates Herod's massacre of the innocents – when the ruler of Israel heard that 'the King of the Jews' had been born in a manger in Bethlehem, he killed all the infant boys in that town, and Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus, warned by an angel, took flight to become refugees in Egypt.

The Greek Liturgy asserts that Herod killed 14,000 boys, while the Syrians speak of 64,000 and many medieval authors of 144,000. Modern writers reduce the number considerably, since Bethlehem was a rather small town.

Childermas is supposed to be a day of bad omen, and one should never marry on it, nor put on new clothes, pare the nails, nor begin anything important. It was once actually considered to be the unluckiest day of the year; the day of the week on which it falls is unlucky throughout the coming year. In Cornwall, housewives and cleaners refrained from scrubbing on this day, as late as the 1860s. The coronation of England's King Edward IV (1442 - '83) was postponed till the following Monday ...

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