Although Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world, Mexico stands out as a country where families devote total heart and soul to celebrate the occasion.
Dia de las Madres is commemorated on May 10, regardless of the day of the week marked on the calendar.
As in other parts on the nation, festivities in the Lake Chapala area commonly begin in the wee hours as beloved mothers are roused from slumber with heart-felt musical serenades.
As day breaks, sky rockets blast off at local cemeteries to herald services in remembrance of matriarchs who have passed on to greener fields. Many of those in attendance will bring floral tributes to place at their graves.
Most moms get a one-day break from the daily drudgery of household chores. Families who can afford it may wine and dine Mamá at one of the community’s upscale restaurants. Those of lesser means pitch in to prepare a home-cooked comida featuring her favorite dishes. Big family get-togethers honoring two or three generations of mothers are widely popular in all social strata.
The day also calls for special gifts. Fresh flowers, whether put together in a simple bouquet or an extravagant arrangement, are practically de rigueur. Other tokens of affection may be practical items selected to ease housewife duties: new dishes, glassware, kitchen gadgets or a major appliance such as a washing machine, refrigerator, stove or microwave oven. She may also receive clothing, fashion accessories, jewelry, perfume or even a new cell phone, an essential tool for the 21st-century woman.
What counts here are not the material goods, but their invisible wrapping of genuine love and appreciation for the person regarded as the pillar of the Mexican family. She is admired as ever comprehending and self-sacrificing, the symbol of unconditional love and solidarity, the glue that binds the family unit.
The atrium of Chapala’s San Francisco Church will be the setting for the traditional Festival 10 de Mayo, a public Mother’s Day party organized by community leaders. Starting around 8 p.m. after evening mass, the program features live entertainment, including a rib-tickling dance contest among the moms in attendance. Generous residents and businesses contribute house wares, cakes, pantry goods, craft items and scores of other gifts that will be raffled off among the moms.
Throughout next week young progeny will fete their mothers at talent shows customarily put on by local schools. What could be more endearing than a cluster of tiny kindergartners reciting a saccharine choral poem in perfect unison or a troupe of gawky adolescents costumed in swirling skirts and charro outfits pounding out the lively steps of the emblematic Jarabe Tapatio?