Sunday, May 1, 2016

Around the World for Mother's Day

Image Source: mothersdaywishings.com
Mother's Day has always been a big deal in my house, primarily because my mom is a pretty big deal herself.  The woman is literally a superhero, and although we celebrate her every day, as Latinos in the US, we officially get to celebrate her twice!

From festivals held to honor goddess Iris in ancient Egypt to those held in honor of goddesses Rhea and Cybele in Ancient Greece and Rome, motherhood has been esteemed for centuries.  Mother’s Day, however did not become an official thing until 1914, some years after American social activist Anna Jarvis first campaigned for it to become a recognized holiday in 1908.  Today, over seventy countries observe Mother's Day worldwide. 

In most Latino households, Mother’s Day celebrations are widespread.  Latino culture is matriarchal in nature, and so perhaps it's no surprise that Mother’s Day is the largest card-sending occasion for Latinos in the U.S., more so than Valentine's Day and even Christmas.  However, there is not one standard day for Mother’s Day worldwide and as it has become the custom, many Latino families living in the US celebrate both American Mother’s Day as well as their countries’ own.

Listed are some of the dates devoted to moms throughout the world.  When do you celebrate?
  •  First Sunday in May:  Up until 1965, Spain celebrated mothers on December 8th, the festivity has since been moved to the 1st Sunday of May.  This year, Mother’s Day falls on May 1st.
  • Second Sunday of May:  In the United States Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May.  This year it will fall on May 8th.  Several other countries: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela, for example, honor motherhood on this traditional day as well.
  • May 10th:  In El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico mothers are celebrated on May 10th.  In Mexico, it is customary to visit one’s Mom on the eve of the holiday (May 9th).
  • May 15th:  Paraguay celebrates Mother's Day on May 15th, the same day as it celebrates its 'Día de la Patria’.  It is said that the date is marked as such in honor of Juana María de Lara whose brave actions led to the country’s independence.
  • May 27th:   Bolivia celebrates on May 27th. This date also commemorates the battle of “La Coronilla” in which many women fought for Bolivian Independence.
  • May 30th:  In Nicaragua, mothers are celebrated on May 30th.  It is said that then President Anastasio Somoza García chose this date to memorialize his mother-in-law’s birthday.
  • Last Sunday of May:  The Dominican Republic celebrates Mother’s Day on the last Sunday of May.  This year it will fall on May 29th, 2016.
  • August 15th:  Costa Rica celebrates on August 15th.  This date was chosen as it also symbolizes the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
  • Third Sunday of October:  In Argentina, Mother’s Day takes place on the third Sunday of October.  This year, the holiday will fall on October 16th, 2016.
  • December 8th:  Panama celebrates Mother’s Day on December 8th, on the same day as it celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Originally published in LatinTrends Magazine, May 2016

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