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Merry Fourth Day of Christmas (Feast of the Holy Innocents, Childermas)


Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
Staff member
Premium Member
:glowingstar: Merry Christmas!!! :glowingstar:

The Carol:

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Four calling birds
Three french hens
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree


Today is the 4th celebratory day of the Octave* of Christmas and the Feast of the Holy Innocents (28th December) martyred by King Herod the Great, according to the Nativity narrative in the Gospel of St. Matthew.​

Holy Innocents' Day is also known as "Childermas". In the High Middle Ages, today's feast was marked by a special pageant of role reversal between children and adults, such as teachers and priests; with boy bishops even presiding over some church services.

For any secular celebrants who may, perchance, be reading this - to you guys, I continue to wish you "Happy Holidays" and hope you're now exercising away the Christmas dinner and yule-log by this point (I've certainly got back to weight-lifting and jogging myself!) to fight the flab in preparation for New Years Eve ;)

The season of Christmastide as a whole - in most ecclesiastical traditions - lasts until Twelfth Night (5th January) on the feast of the Epiphany, when decorations and tree are traditionally taken down.

(*An Octave is a period of eight days wherein a feast of the Church is celebrated for that whole period as though it were all the same day. e.g. some of the prayers and antiphons this morning at Mass say, “Today is born our saviour, Christ the Lord.”

Jesus, like all Jewish boys, was circumcised by his parents eight days after his birth according to the Torah and he rose from the dead on the eighth day of the week, Sunday. Hence the 'Octave' of eight feasting days of Christmas and also the reason why baptismal fonts are octagonal!

The Octave Day of the Feast of Christmas is January 1st, New Years Day)​

Prayer for the Feast of the Holy Innocents

Invitation to confession

On this day when we recall the murder of innocent lives,

let us stand before our just and holy God,

and remembering the violence and injustice of our world,

confess our sins in penitence and faith.


You are the God of the weak and the vulnerable.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

You judge the tyrant and the cruel.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

You wipe away the tears of the broken-hearted.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


Heavenly Father,

whose children suffered at the hands of Herod,

though they had done no wrong:

by the suffering of your Son

and by the innocence of our lives

frustrate all evil designs

and establish your reign of justice and peace;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


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