Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

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

Tribute to Mothers: Feliz Dia de la Madre

Red roses for love, a Mother’s Day Gift to you

First, a bouquet of red roses for all mothers, daughters and foster mothers. For the women in our lives who give us strength, courage and determination to stand up with shoulders back, head high. For the women who came before us to open the path and show us the way. Saludos y felicidades, siempre.

Mother’s Day, dedicated to my own mother, Dorothy Schafitz Beerstein, b. February 14, 1916, d. November 15, 2015, and the remarkable women of Mexico.

Embroidered story rebozo by Teofila Servin Barriga, Patzcuaro, Michoacan

Rosa, center, and her nieces, Magdalenas Aldama

In Yochib, Oxchuc,talented weaver with impaired mobility, limited health care access

The girls who will become women, learning from the matriarch

The young women, keepers of tradition and culture

To those of us who explore and discover and support the makers

Cousins Maya and Alicia in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca

The generations: Grandma Juana, Baby Luz, and Mama Edith

Grower of native corn, Mixe region of Oaxaca

My own mother, two years before her death at age 99 

For everything hand-made, here’s to the makers!

The women pottery makers of San Marcos Tlapazola

Intricately embroidered blouse, San Bartolome Ayautla, 8 months to make

To Lila Downs, who tells stories in song, with compassion

Frida Kahlo Calderon, our muse and heroine

Susie in Chiapas, thanks to the adventurers who visit

To the women who love and give care

Deceased potter Dolores Porras, inspiration for Atzompa

To Margarita, the basket weaver, Benito Juarez Market

Thank you to all the women who make a difference just by being you!

A Tribute to Mothers and Women Who Write

This weekend I am on the North Carolina coast with four other women who participated in our 2014 Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat. We have rented  a friend’s North Topsail Island beach house.  Here we look east over the Atlantic Ocean to write, share meals, tell life stories, renew friendship, drink wine and Oaxaca mezcal, and offer encouragement and gentle feedback.  This is not an organized workshop but an interlude to the next February 2015 workshop retreat (one space open), a coming together of writers and those who want to write in Oaxaca, Mexico.

In honor of the women who brought us into this world, we decided at breakfast to dedicate this morning to write about our mothers.  We will then share, listen and offer supportive feedback.  We are self-guided. There is no leader. Some of us write regularly, others less frequently. Some of us publish and others have not yet taken that next step. We all have something to say and want a place of retreat to get it on the page.

Beyond the second story balcony of my white-curtained bedroom is dune grass, their tassel tops wave in the wind.  The mid-day sun is already intense. Beyond the dunes, white caps fold over themselves. The horizon is hazy. Gulls, wings outstretched, ride the air currents.  On the floor below I hear muffled sounds of women who prepare lunch. We come together in friendship and mutual support to honor and remember our mothers, to write and to tell our stories, to renew our creative lives, and to enjoy each others’ company.

Happy Mother’s Day!

My own son is further south at Carolina Beach to attend a friend’s wedding. He will join us tomorrow night for supper and overnight before he returns to Los Angeles for his day job and creative life as a comedy writer.  Soon, I will return to Oaxaca after I continue to pack and store my belongings, move out of my North Carolina house, and prepare for a different future.