28 Dec, 2023 @ 12:10
1 min read

Careful what you believe today! Why December 28 is Spain’s version of April Fool’s Day, and how the Spanish press has tried to catch out readers

Mbappe
Courtesy of The Express

IF YOU live in Spain, you should be very careful what you believe today, December 28. Dubbed the Dia de los Inocentes, or The Day of the Innocents, the day is the Spanish version of April Fool’s Day, and a time when pranks will be played between friends, family and work colleagues, as well as joke news stories appearing in the press. 

Bizarrely, however, the day has its roots in the Christian feast that was traditionally held on December 28 in remembrance of the massacre of children by King Herod in his attempt to kill the baby Jesus.

Over time, it is thought, the day became associated with the so-called Feast of the Fools, which took on a carnivalesque and jokey tone, eventually becoming a day to celebrate humour and pranks, as it is today.

As is the case for April Fool’s Day in other countries such as the UK, the press likes to get in on the act, and December 28 is traditionally a day when keen-eyed readers seek out joke stories in printed and online newspapers. 

Sports paper Mundo Deportivo published a fake news story early on Thursday morning claiming that PSG player Mbappe was actually headed to FC Barcelona, rather than his long-rumoured move to Real Madrid.

The Civil Guard, meanwhile, whose community managers never miss the chance to prank followers on December 28, put out a tweet celebrating the “International Day of UFO Sightings”, accompanied by a photo of two of its helicopter pilots apparently flying into space. “The force will be with you, always,” the message concluded. 

A Twitter user announced an upcoming biopic directed by Wes Anderson of Spanish tennis star Rafa Nadal, complete with photoshopped poster featuring actor Thimothée Chalamet as the eponymous sports hero.

And a user called Diego A Moreno also resorted to some photoshopping for his ‘inocentada’, sharing a photo of a tub of Nesquik, ‘now with broccoli’. “Good morning!” he wrote. I’ve tried it and it’s amazing!”

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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