Mother’s Day in Mexico is Always on May 10

Feliz Dia de las Madres! Happy Mother’s Day

The sentiment is the same around the world wherever Mother’s Day is celebrated: love, gratitude, and appreciation. It is a day to honor and celebrate mothers and those who have stepped into this role as surrogates. We show appreciation for their care and contributions to us as individuals and to families in general. Many use the day to express affection, give gifts, or spend quality time with the important women in their lives. It is one particular time to show respect and acknowledge the essential role that mothers play. From my point of view, it does not need to be soppy or dramatic, or over-the-top. It is an opportunity for each of us to communicate genuine caring, whatever that looks like.

In the USA, President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother’s Day to be official in 1914. The Mexican government officially recognized Mother’s Day in 1922. In the USA, the date floats and is always observed on the second Sunday in May. In Mexico, this is a fixed date and is observed on whichever day May 10 falls.

Why May 10? Because back in the day, the 10th of the month was pay day in Mexico, meaning that everyone could afford a little extra to buy mom a gift or take her out for a nice meal. The month of May in Mexico is also important because it is consecrated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Patron Saint of Mexico, and the incarnation of the Virgin Mary.

In Mexico, children of all ages make a fuss about their mothers in various ways. Moms are called las reinas de la casa, or the queens of the house, and treated accordingly. Flowers are particularly popular – the more colorful, the better! But for many Mexican moms, the most valuable gift is a little less tangible. Often, children gather outside the house on the morning of Mother’s Day to serenade mom with a song. Las Mañanitas is a favorite tune, with appropriate lyrics that translate to Because today is your day, we’ve come to sing for you. To awaken to the sound of your children singing to you (sometimes accompanied by a full mariachi band) is considered to be the ultimate Mother’s Day experience.

You will often hear this in Mexico:

  • Mamá, eres la mejor (Mom, you’re the best). 
  • Te quiero con todo mi corazón (I love you with all my heart). 

Also, Mother’s Day in Mexico all about food. Families will often gather around a feast featuring such signature Mexican dishes as mole, pozole verde with pork, enchiladas, sopes, quesadillas, beef barbacoa and more. 

If we are so lucky that our mothers, grandmothers, or other mother figures are still with us, this is an opportunity to offer a special tribute. If our mothers have passed on, it is a time for us to reflect on how they influenced us, contributed to our well being, and helped shaped us to better navigate in the world.

Not every mother-child relationship is/was consistently rosy. Most of us have experienced the inconsistencies of mothering. If we are parents ourselves, we know how difficult it is to be even-handed, rational, loving, affirming, and offer unconditional love and support one-hundred percent of the time. As I have written in a recent essay, they did the best they could given the tools they were given, and so did we!

Las Mananitas Lyrics

Estas son las mañanitas
Que cantaba el rey David
Hoy, por ser día de tu santo
Te las cantamos aquí

Despierta, mi bien, despierta
Mira que ya amaneció
Ya los pajaritos cantan
La luna ya se metió

Qué linda está la mañana
En que vengo a saludarte
Venimos todos con gusto
Y placer a felicitarte

El día en que tú naciste
Nacieron todas las flores
En la pila del bautismo
Cantaron los ruiseñores

Ya viene amaneciendo
Ya la luz del día nos dio
Levántate de mañana
Mira que ya amaneció

Si yo pudiera bajarte
Las estrellas y un lucero
Para poder demostrarte
Lo mucho que yo te quiero

Con jazmines y flores
Este día quiero adornar
Hoy, por ser día de tu santo
Te venimos a cantar

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