When I was a little girl in Cuba I dreaded December 28 -“El Día de los Inocentes.” Just like in April’s Fool Day, people would try to trick you and when they did, they would laugh and yell “Inocente.” I found it very disturbing, more so when I realized the religious meaning of the day. However, it was all done in fun, but I must confess I’m still not sold on this type of humor.


My mother told me that her aunt Sene loved to play practical jokes and this was a day she thoroughly enjoyed. One of her older brothers (I can’t remember which one) did not appreciate her humor as she was always able to trick him. One December the 28th he decided he was not going to fall for any of her tricks and he made it a point to go to her house as a challenge. He just sat there keeping quiet and not accepting her offers of food or drink.

When he decided to leave, Sene insisted that he should have a cold beer.  It was a hot day and it was a long way back home. He refused, she persisted and told him she would open the pantry and let him take a bottle and open it himself. He finally gave in. He should have known better. She had filled some beer bottles with a disgusting concoction and once again managed to fool him. Then very upset he stopped by my grandparent’s house to tell his tale of woe.