What a special and grand celebration Mother’s Day is in this beautiful country called Mexico! The beach, restaurants and streets are overflowing with families celebrating Mother’s Day. The local stores are packed with colorful flowers, especially roses. I wonder where they get all the roses from 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 fine-looking “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 Mothers and the children present Mom with handmade gifts and cards that they made 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 Mother’s Day here in Mexico is the tradition of children gathering outside of their Mother’s homes in the early morning hours to serenade their Moms. Indeed, the ability to sing astonishingly well seems to be a genetic trait in the 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 Mother’s 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 on 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 as told by 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. 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 learn 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, worshiped 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 as it does in Spanish. We do not seem to worship our Moms as highly as they do in Mexico. Mothers in Mexico 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. This is one thing I love about this country. Another is the very special and personal celebration of Mother’s Day – not a Hallmark card in sight in any of the shops, and apparently not needed!
by Christina Stobbs
This story was submitted by one of our regular contributors. To learn more about the author/photographer, click on the “Contributors” tab near the top of the page. If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com
Updated May 2013. Originally published on www.mexconnect.com
in May 2010.