4th Day of Christmas

The 4th Day of Christmas celebrates the Feast of the Holy Innocents and is held on December 28th.  This day is also called childermas for the children that were killed.  The custom is to allow the youngest child in the household to rule the day.1

4th Day of Christmas at McMullen House Bed & Breakfast

Picture of the Fourth Day of Christmas (Four Calling Birds) 2019
            4th Day–Four Calling Birds

The 4th Day of Christmas at McMullen House is depicted with four calling birds, which represents the four gospels in the Bible.

Feast of the Holy Innocents History

Picture of the Massacre of the Innocents--4th Day of Christmas
Massacre of the Innocents, Public Domain from Wikipedia

The Massacre of the Holy Innocents is described in Matthew 2:16-18.  King Herod ordered that all children under 2 years old to be killed in the vicinity of Jesus.  These children are considered to be the first Christian martyrs and are collectively the Patron Saints of Babies.2

Did the killing actually occur?

Like a lot of the stories associated with the 12 days of Christmas there is some debate as to the event actually happening.  In this case, whether the killing actually occurred.  Some say the account only occurs in the Book of Matthew, while the Coventry Carol from the 16th Century describes it.3  The Catholic Encyclopedia gives a detailed history and account of what is known.4

Feast of the Holy Innocents

In Rome, the 4th day is also known as the Feast of Fools and is a day of fasting, mourning, and of fun for children.1

References

1: Feast of the Holy Innocents Article from Encyclopedia Britannica

2: Fransciscan Media article on Holy Innocents

3: Word-on-Fire Article on Feast of the Holy Innocents

4: New Advent Article on Holy Innocents

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