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The Holy Innocents
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Biblical Characters
    (circa 6 BC-circa 4 BC)
    Born in Bethlehem, Judea (modern West Bank)
    Male children under age two in Bethlehem
    Killed on the orders of King Herod, who feared losing his throne to the 'King of the Jews' whose birth the Magi told him about
    Massacre described in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2: 16-18)
    Feast day (Childermas) is December 28
    Many historians doubt the massacre ever happened.
    They are in the theologically awkward position of being Christian martyrs who pre-date the Christian church.
    In Spain and Latin America, their feast day was an excuse for April Fool's-style pranks.
    In many Catholic countries, their feast day was considered an unlucky day when no new project should be started.
    God sent an angel to alert Mary and Joseph about Herod's plans, but did not bother to warn anyone else in Bethlehem. Thanks a lot.
    They inspired the haunting 'Coventry Carol.'
    Peter Paul Rubens' painting 'The Massacre of the Innocents' sold for a then-record $86-million.

Credit: C. Fishel

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