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The only day when fake news is acceptable in Spain

The only day when fake news is acceptable in Spain

28 December was The Holy Innocents Day

Fake news is one of the scourges of modern societies and much has been written and said about their harmful role in changing the perception of the public in order to reflect a particular mindset. Whether we call it misinformation, propaganda, conspiracy theories, fake news is obviously nothing new and it has existed under one form or another ever since the dawn of human civilization.

Yet, occasionally it can give us a break to remember that there can be a lighter side to misinformation, specifically when it is intended to serve as a joke or satire. A reminder of this side of ‘fake news’ is El Día de los Santos Inocentes (‘The Day of the Holy Innocents’) celebrated in Spain every year on 28 December. It is basically the Spanish version of April Fool’s Day and there is a tradition in the media sphere to also publish a small satirical article which ‘masquerades’ as real news but is not.

The holiday has Biblical origins

There is however a dark and not humorous origin to who the Holy Innocents are. These are supposed to be all the male children under the age of 2 who were killed upon the orders of the Judean king Herod when he heard the prophecy that the real king of Judea had been born.

Somehow in modern Spain it came to be a day when it is acceptable to make light mockery of someone or pull off a prank with the excuse that the one doing the joke is ‘innocent’, or that he did not know any better that he is sinning.

This year for example, a small football club in Barcelona, called Martinenc, announced on its website that the subway station located near its premises will be renamed from Guinardó | Hospital de Sant Pau to Martinenc | Hospital de Sant Pau in the club’s honour.

Likewise a non-profit organization, also in Barcelona, called Promotion of Public Transport (PTP) posted an article on their site and social media claiming to have initiated a proposal for the introduction of an air tram that will solve the long-standing issues with public transit along the Upper Diagonal area of the city. In that way, they brought attention back to one of the issues they work to resolve.

It is common and good practice to finish off these types of articles by wishing everyone smiles during that day, reminding the reader that it is 28 December and that the news item should be taken with a grain of salt and in good spirit.

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