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Celebrating Mother's Day in Mexico
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May 1, 2011

Unlike in the United States, where Mother's Day is always the second Sunday in May, in Mexico, Mother's Day is always celebrated on May 10th. ("Bajando Calle Tecolote" by Donna Dickson)

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - In Mexico, Mother's Day, May 10th, is an auspicious day. Its importance in Mexican culture is noted with the fact that it is regarded as an especially significant holiday.

It is celebrated with a mass at the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, where an orchestra plays 'Las Maņanitas' of the Virgin. The Virgin here is symbolical of motherhood. After the mass, Mexicans follow a wonderful custom of providing an early morning meal to all the mothers, usually tamales and atole.

The celebration of Mother's Day in Mexico is similar to celebrations in the United States. Children present their mothers with gifts of candy, cards or flowers, and children who can't be home on Mother's Day often will telephone Mom to let her know that she's loved. Unlike in the United States, where Mother's Day is always the second Sunday in May, in Mexico, Mother's Day is always celebrated on May 10th.

In many families, the children present a little program for their mother, singing songs and perhaps offering a brief skit. Sometimes, schools sponsor programs for the mothers of the students, especially if May 10 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. Most families try to put aside any disagreements for the day.

The sound of music begins Mother's Day in some Mexican cities, where it's the custom to go to Mom's house early in the morning and awaken her with song. Those who can afford it hire trios or Mariachi bands to accompany them, but Mama equally welcomes children who can't afford a band and have to provide the musical awakening themselves. Many families then go to a special mass, followed by a community breakfast.

In 1942 some Mexican mothers got an unusual gift for Mother's Day, one that benefited their children as well. Time Magazine reported that the Mexican government, saying that sewing machines were vital to mothers who needed to clothe their families, ordered the National Pawnshop to return all of the pawned sewing machines it held without requiring the loans to be repaid. The estimated loss to National Pawnshop was about $160,000.