Always celebrated on May 10,Día de las Madres,or Mother’s Day,is one of Mexico’s most well-loved national holidays,influenced by a variety of different traditions that are all centered around making sure moms everywhere feel special and are properly honored for their vital roles as caregivers and teachers of the nation’s next generation.
“Every year on May 10 the entire nation stops what it is doing in the afternoon and eats some serious lunch with Mom,” writes the Washington Post. “A decent Mother’s Day lunch can easily clock in at five hours.”
In addition to dining,children are expected to honor their mothers with a variety of gifts,including cards and flowers. Younger siblings often hand make their own offerings,while older and adult children tend to go all-out and buy Mom something special from her favorite retail store. Roses and other flowers are everywhere in the cities and towns,with restaurants overflowing with patrons and retail locations offering a wide variety of specialty gifts designed just for mothers.
“The mother is an institution in Mexico,” shares Manuel Gutierrez,president of the national association of restaurateurs,according to the Washington Post. “As the mother traditionally is the one working for us,cleaning for us,cooking for us,we believe that at least one day a year,we ought to take her out and let someone else do the cooking.”
Gutierrez goes on to explain that it’s not unusual for families to gather in groups of 80 or more – both in restaurants and in private homes. This makes it one of the busiest days of the year for many eateries,especially those that serve family-style dinners.
“It is,without a doubt,the most important day for restaurants,” he states. “We sell double,triple what we would on a normal day.”
Perhaps one of the most special and unique traditions surrounding Mother’s Day in Mexico is the serenading of mothers in the early morning hours by their children. Many well-to-do families have even been known to hire a mariachi band,planning the sweet chords of tunes like Las Mañanitas,which is also the official “birthday” song of Mexico. Other traditions involve special shows hosted at the local schools that are put on just to entertain moms,as well as mass at the local cathedral followed by a meal. Essentially,the entire day revolves only around honoring Moms.
“Motherhood in Mexico is associated with kindness,tenderness,sincerity and virtuosity,” shares expat and blogger Christina Stobbs,who lives in the small town of Los Ayala,just north of Puerto Vallarta in the scenic region known as the Riviera Nayarit. “For us,everything in Mexico seems to have more meaning.”
In addition,it is important to note that the word madre – which means “mother” – is also frequently used in the most serious insults,so be sure to exercise caution when first learning Spanish in order to avoid offending a native speaker! Interestingly,in English the word is officially defined in rather clinical terms as “a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth,” but in Mexico mothers are typically glorified and worshipped. Often,their entire lives are devoted solely to their children – reflecting the undying love of family that always seems to come first no matter where you may be in Mexico.
What are you doing to celebrate Mother’s Day? Share your plans with other readers in the comments below!