The Holy Innocents are shown with the Holy Family, in spirit,
during the Family's Flight to Egypt in this painting by William Holman Hunt.
On December 28th, the feast of the Holy Innocents, the Church honors all the little children who were killed by King Herod in his attempt to kill the Christ Child. These Holy Innocents were the first to die for Christ, and so they have been honored, since very early times, as martyrs.
There are many customs associated with this feast. One custom is to serve some sort of "baby food" (for example oatmeal), especially to the youngest members of the family. Another would be to let the youngest child "rule the day." This child would then get to choose the food, drinks, etc for the day. The traditional dessert for this feast is a white pudding with a red raspberry sauce, which symbolizes both the purity of the Holy Innocent's and their martyrdom. Other options include baking a white cake or serving vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce.
We have a favorite Coconut Rice Pudding (that I have come up with from a number of various recipes) that we make for this feast that is both dairy and sugar free:
Coconut Rice Pudding
1/2 cup basmati rice, rinsed
14 oz can of coconut milk
2 cups water
1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup grated coconut (optional)
Combine the rice, coconut milk, water and agave in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 min, stirring occasionally. Take off heat, add cinnamon and vanilla. When the rice is cooked, spoon it into a mold or pretty glass. Place the rice pudding in the refrigerator to chill until serving.
1 cup raspberries
1 tbs. agave nectar (or 2 tbs. sugar)
1 tsp. corn starch
1/4 cup water
Place the berries in a sauce pan, add the water and agave (or sugar) and bring to a boil. Save a few of the prettiest berries to use as garnish. Once the berries have cooked down, push them through a sieve to remove the seeds. Mix the corn starch with a little bit of the berry juice. Return the juice to the sauce pan and add the corn starch mixture. Cook a few minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and cool.
(Another option is to just use Red Raspberry Syrup, instead of the sauce, for convenience.)
To serve, turn the molded coconut pudding out onto a plate, spoon some of the sauce over and garnish with a few pretty berries.
If you have children, there is a special solemn blessing that parents should give their children on this day:
Father: O Lord, hear my prayer.
All: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Father: Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, once Thou embraced and placed Thy hands upon the little children who came to Thee, and said: "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, and their angels always see the face of my Father!" Look now with fatherly eyes on the innocence of these children and their parents' devotion, and bless them this day through our prayers.
The father signs the forehead of each child with holy water.
Father: In Thy grace and goodness let them advance continually, longing for Thee, loving Thee, fearing Thee, keeping Thy commandments. Then they will surely come to their destined home, through Thee, Savior of the world. Who lives and reigns forever and ever.
Father: May God bless you. And may He keep your hearts and minds -- the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
Also, be sure to remember to pray for all the Holy Innocents in our own country at this time... All the innocent children who are being killed each and every day by abortion.
Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life, And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters. I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death by the Resurrection of Your Son. I am ready to do my part in ending abortion. Today I commit myself Never to be silent, Never to be passive, Never to be forgetful of the unborn. I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, And never to stop defending life Until all my brothers and sisters are protected, And our nation once again becomes A nation with liberty and justice Not just for some, but for all, Through Christ our Lord. Amen! (This prayer was written by Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director Priests for Life.)Pin It