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Mother’s Day in Mexico
Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:23 amForum Host
In Mexico Mother’s day is now a warm and loving holiday, but who would have thought that at one time it was the center of such debate.
The government imported the Mother's Day holiday from the US in 1922, and the newspaper Excélsior held a massive promotional campaign for the holiday that year. The conservative government was trying to use the holiday to promote a more conservative role for mothers in families, but that perspective was criticized by the socialists as promoting woman who was not being good for much more than breeding.
In the mid-1930s the leftist government promoted the holiday as a "patriotic festival". They tried to use the holiday as a vehicle for various efforts: to stress the importance of families as the basis for national development; to benefit from the loyalty that Mexicans felt towards their mothers; to introduce new morals to Mexican women; and to reduce the influence that the church and the Catholic right exerted over women. The government sponsored the holiday in the schools. However, ignoring the strict guidelines from the government, theatre plays were filled with religious icons and themes. Consequently, the "national celebrations" became "religious fiestas" despite the efforts of the government.
In 1940, Soledad Orozco Garcia, wife of President Manuel Avilla Camacho declared 10th May a holiday, thus making it a state-sponsored celebration and that is when Mexicans realized the holiness of mother's day. Orozco's announcement was supported by the Catholic National Synarchist Union that started paying attention to the importance and celebrations of the day. At that time, an interesting custom was started by the members of the Party of the Mexican revolution. Women from poor families were invited to their shops to pick a gift, for free! Another heart-touching historical event is worth mentioning, when in 1942 the government returned sewing machines to the mothers whose pawn shops were occupied as they were not able to pay loan. Though this act cost $160,000 to the pawn market, but it proved to be the most precious gift to the mothers who used sewing machines to earn a living for their families.
The clergy of the city of León interpreted the government's actions as an effort to secularize the holiday and to promote a more active role for women in society. They concluded that the government's long term goal was to cause women to abandon their traditional roles at home in order to spiritually weaken men. The clergy also saw the holiday as an attempt to secularize the cult to the Virgin Mary. The government sought to counter the clergy’s claims by organizing widespread masses and asking religious women to assist with the state-sponsored events in order to "depaganize" them. In 1942, at the same time as Soledad's greatest celebration of Mother's Day, the clergy organized the 210th celebration of the Virgin Mary with a large parade in León.
Today Mexicans children get up early in the morning and sing beautiful songs dedicated to their mothers. It is also celebrated with a mass at the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, where an orchestra plays 'las mañanitas' of the Virgin. After the mass, Mexicans follow a wonderful custom of providing early morning meal to all the mothers. This meal often consists of tamales and atole.
Some of the schools sponsor programs for the mothers of the students, especially if May 10 happens to falls on a school day. The children may dance, tell jokes and sing for the entertainment of their maternal audience.
Just as in the United States, Mother's Day lunch or dinner at a restaurant is common. Mexicans know to make reservations many weeks ahead of time, as the restaurants will be crowded on May 10. Other families bring food to their mother's home and enjoy a meal together there.
Apart from giving the conventional flowers, Mexicans also indulge in the custom of giving gifts to their mother. Whilst the older children give expensive gifts to their mother, the young ones make her happy with handmade gifts. However, all of them have a single aim - to make the day special for their mother. They want is to let their mother know that they realize her importance and she holds a very special place in their life, which no one else can take over.
Fri May 03, 2013 6:02 pmForum Host
What an informative read. Having lived in El Paso, TX, I am quite aware of the celebrations that take place in Mexican families. I was unaware of the politics involved in Mother's Day. Thanks much for posting.
Mon May 13, 2013 9:36 amForum Host
A day late but I certainly hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day. On Friday, I drove to Atlanta to help my SIL with the kids while DD was at a conference. Saturday was the oldest granddaughters 6th birthday and recital. Got home Saturday around 4:00. Yesterday was quite and spent with my DH. We cooked steaks on the grill and topped them with Chipotle Butter.
Mon May 13, 2013 11:03 amForum Host
Paula, sounds like a nice weekend!
We went over to my son’s mother-in-law' house; it was quite a house full of mothers. She had her mother 94, her daughter and grandson, plus my mother and myself and all our respective spouses as well as all the children.
She laid out a beautiful brunch of baked French toast casserole, large cheese, mushroom and herb baked omelet, country potatoes, bacon, sausage, a lovely fruit platter, citrus mimosa’s and one wonderful ricotta cheese cake. It’s going to take me a month to work all that back off
Mon May 13, 2013 6:58 pmForum Host
Oh WOW! Sounds like a wonderful spread. Glad you had a great family time together.
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