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Mothers Day in Mexico: an extraordinarily special day

Christina Stobbs

3 flower pots
Flowers are a favorite Mother's Day Gift
© Christina Stobbs 2010

What a special and grand celebration Mothers Day in this beautiful country called Mexico! The beach, restaurants and streets are overflowing with families celebrating Mothers Day. The local stores area packed with colourful flowers, especially roses. I wonder where they get the roses and how expensive they must be for those families on a limited income to purchase. The retail stores place big beautiful bows on all their merchandise and the bakeries display some very grand and beautiful "Happy Mother's Day" cakes which look absolutely delicious.

In the small and seemingly magical beach town of Los Ayala, everyone dresses up in their finest attire. Families attend mass at the local church to worship at the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe; for on this day she symbolizes motherhood. The local schools host shows especially for Mom; and the children present Mother with handmade gifts and cards made especially for her at school. After mass, a meal is enjoyed; the whole family visits and spends the entire day celebrating with Mom.

However, what is most special to me about Mothers Day here in Mexico is the tradition of children gathering outside their Mother's homes in the early morning hours to serenade their Moms. The ability to sing astonishingly well; seems to be a genetic trait in many Mexican people.

Some of the more affluent families actually hire mariachi musicians to serenade their Moms, as we learned during our first year in Mexico on Día de las Madres, or Mothers Day, when we were awakened in the wee hours of the morning, to the sweet melody of "Las Mañanitas."

Las Mañanitas is the birthday song of Mexico which is traditionally sung on the evening of December 11th as a serenade to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Mother's day. It is a beautiful song. The chorus goes…

Awaken, my dear, awaken
and see that the day has dawned
now the little birds are singing
and the moon has set

The Virgin of Guadalupe, the story of the Virgin Mary as related in Mexico, represents the mother of all Mexicans. Motherhood in Mexico is associated with kindness, tenderness, sincerity and virtuosity. For us, everything in Mexico seems to have more meaning. Life here is rich. If you research the word "madre," the Spanish word for "mother" you will find that mothers are referred to as a cross between angels and saints who are still virginal and always self sacrificing. Madres are pure and perfect -- like the Virgin of Guadalupe, worshipped and untouchable. It should be said that everything that is good and bad in Mexico is laid upon the Virgin of Guadalupe and that because of her association with motherhood; the word madre is frequently used in the most serious of insults. Because of this relationship the word should be used with caution by those just learning the Spanish language.

If you look up the meaning of "mother" in English the meaning is most often clinical. "Mother" is defined as a woman who has given birth, conceived or raised a child; a female person who is pregnant with or gives birth to a child; or a female person, whose egg unites with a sperm, resulting in the conception. Of course, Motherhood is also associated with love, caring and protecting but the word "mother" in English does not carry the same religious connotations and adulation, and interpretation as it does in Spanish. We do not seem to worship mothers as they are in Mexico. Mothers here seemingly devote their entire lives to their children, creating bonds that last a life time. Mothers are glorified in Mexico.

In Mexico, the love of the family is first and foremost in life. Families who take vacation in Los Ayala -- when asked what they most enjoy Los Ayala -- without fail always say the importance of family and children.

Family is very important in Mexico and this is but one thing we love about this country. Another is the very special and personal celebration of Mother's Day -- not a Hallmark card in sight in any store and not needed!

Published or Updated on: May 9, 2010 by Christina Stobbs © 2010
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