On the Christian Calender, appearantly the 28th of December is the most unluckiest day on the calender.

Once upon the time, the day was known as Feast of the Holy Innocent or Childermass. Why Childermass? A bit odd name for a church day, but certainly the most fitting. Because the reason behind the name tells a sad story on tops of the memory of dead children.

The Massacre of Innocent

It remembers the day when King Herod commanded the slaughter of all the young male children under the age of two in Bethlehem. Most of the biblical scholars tend to believe the story is a myth, but the Church thinks differently. They think that they are the first Christian martyrs and are celebrated like that.

File:Jacopo Tintoretto - The Massacre of the Innocents - WGA22591.jpg
The Massacre of the Innocents painted between 1582 and 1587 by Jacopo Tintoretto

Why then do we keep remembering this day, perhaps even today? According to a CBC article on the matter, a Dr. Gary Waite, teaching about European religion, witchcraft and the devil says:

“In the medieval era, every household would have experienced the death of a child, The feast of the Holy Innocents would have spoken to an experience that almost all families shared.”


And even though the church never made the day an unlucky one, folk traditions, fears and believes were not easily persuaded.

The day was considered cursed. In Francis Kildale’s glossary from 1855, he called it: “that the day of the week on which it falls is marked as a black day for the whole year to come.”

Superstitions of the day

No ships takes off from the ports and it was considered omen for weather, one didn’t get married and it was dangerous for children. Up until the seventeenth century it was considered good luck to beat the child with a stick on childermass to remember the suffering of Jesus.

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Sailors Superstitions

Perhaps none are more superstitious than the sailors. Or at least, what the old sailors used to be. Rolling clouds or roaring waves means little to us on land, but in the 18th century New England, it meant bad luck. Some of them are plain ridiculous, like having an umbrella on the ship means bad…

Today we don’t really head the old superstitions of the olden days. Although. The number 13 is actually neglected on buildings storey buildings and the likes. So… What made the 28th any different?


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