childermas


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childermas

(ˈtʃɪldəˌmæs)
n
(Ecclesiastical Terms) archaic Holy Innocents Day, Dec 28
[Old English cylda-mæsse, from cildra, genitive plural of child, + mæsse Mass]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
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Another parallelism between Chaucer's clergeon and the figure of Jesus is the fact that the Mass of the Holy Innocents (known also as Childermas and celebrated on the 28th of December) can be traced as one of the tale's sources (Broughton 2005: 589).
The most famous example of this practice relates to St Nicholas Day (6 December) and Childermas or Holy Innocents' Day (December 28th), when churches encouraged boys to dress up as a boy-bishop and his attendants, and to lead the services in a piece of licensed role-reversal.
Today is also called "Childermas"--the children are the "innocents"--a feast for every child, innocent or not (on this day they get the benefit of the doubt).