Since the dawn of recorded history, cultures around the world have recognized the value of motherhood and celebrating Mother’s Day in Mexico honors them. In ancient times, people celebrated with festivals and feasts honoring goddesses or fertility figures.
With the advent of the Christian church, some people began to take a day each year to honor the “mother” church that had baptized them. The idea for day to honor our human mothers came much later, but has since become a treasured tradition for many Latino families.
The History of Mother’s Day in Mexico
The first secular Mother’s Day took place in the US in 1870 with the goal of promoting peace and healing among families and communities after the Civil War. Soon this tradition had spread south of the border into Mexico.
Thanks to the efforts of social activists who wanted to embrace a holiday to celebrate traditional family values, May 10 became officially designated as Mother’s Day in Mexico in 1922.
The Archbishop of Mexico endorsed the holiday and to this day Mother’s Day in Mexico retains a strong religious element. In fact, many Mexican Mother’s Day cards feature icons of the Virgin and Child.
Main Traditions of Mother’s Day in Mexico
Spending time with Mamá is of course the most important tradition of Mother’s Day in Latin America and throughout the world. But each country does have its own unique take on the meals, gifts, and cards that form the core of the celebration. You might incorporate the following main traditions into your own Mexican Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day Eve Dinner: On the evening of May 9, grown children return to their mother’s home for a special family dinner. Ideally someone besides Mamá will cook, but many Mexican moms take such pride in cooking for their families that they simply can’t be persuaded to take a break!
Morning Serenade: On the morning of May 10, children organize some early morning music to wake up their mothers. They might hire a mariachi band to play outside her window, or simply sing on their own.
Mother’s Day Mass & Breakfast: During Mother’s Day in Mexico the whole family accompanies their mother to a special mass and then they enjoy a community breakfast with other church members.
Mother’s Day Gifts: As in the US, Mexican kids give their mothers gifts to thank them for their love and support. Younger children might put on a little program of skits and songs organized by their school and give their moms handmade gifts, while older children typically give store bought gifts of cards, candy, flowers, jewelry, etc.
Family Lunch or Dinner: Mexican families always have at least one big meal together on Mother’s Day. It could be lunch or dinner. Many families make reservations months in advance so they can go out to eat, while others will bring dishes to mom’s house to enjoy together.
Phone Calls: Any family members that can’t be present at the Mother’s Day celebrations will call to wish all their relatives—not just their moms—a happy Mother’s Day.
How Mexican-Americans Celebrate
Many Mexicans can’t go back to their country of origin to celebrate a proper Mother’s Day in Mexico therefore most Mexican-American families celebrate Mother’s Day twice—once on May 10, and once on the second Sunday in May as American families do. With two days to honor mothers, it’s no wonder that Mexican-Americans tend to have such close-knit families and strong family values!