The People's Guide To Mexico

Customs & Fiestas

Mother' Day

by Dobie

Mother's Day is a big deal in Mexico, and San Martin is no exception.

The schools all get together and have a big day of fiesta in honor of the Moms, with dances, poetry, songs, a raffle and then a huge meal of birria - goat stew cooked in a brick horno (oven), soda and half size bottles of beer. As each Mom entered, they pinned a red heart on her, with a number on the back (for the raffle). I told the boy I didn't have any kids but he said it didn't matter and pinned the heart to my blouse.

At the beginning there were a few short speeches (by a couple of the teachers, all of whom are men) about appreciating our mothers, who gave us life, and fed us and loved us. It was sweet. Then a couple of students recited poems they wrote for their mothers.

The first dance was from Chiapas, 3 girls with big skirts and 3 boys with woven bags did their dance, and then the boys knelt down in a circle, the girls shielded them with their skirts, and when the music ended, the boys rose up with a shout and released 3 pigeons, one white, who immediately flew up into the rafters.
Then there were the pre-school and kindergarten kids, so cute in their little white blouses and flowered skirts and red headbands, the boys all in white. There was a lot of shaking and shimmying and spinning around. Our friend Octaviano's son Aron, 16, dressed in a white shirt, tight black jeans, belt (with the oversized buckle), boots, and white sombrero, took the mike like a pro and sang Cielito Lindo, with lots of heart and hand gestures. Everyone liked him so much, he did an encore - a bolero, smooth and romantic. His voice hasn't totally finished changing yet, so every once in awhile there was a squeak instead of a full throated sound. I loved it.

The best dance was the middle school - the dance of the dwarves. The kids had large paper bags stiffened and painted to look like big hats (with small holes cut out for eyes), that came down over the head and shoulders. The torso was bare, and on it was painted a face (the bellybutton was the nose). Padding to make the butt, some kind of tubes of fabric for the arms - all covered with shirt, pants, big shoes. One was made up as a woman with high heels and big tits, but the padding slipped. It was hysterical, as these midgets boogeyed around and attempted to dance with each other. It would be a great Halloween costume!
All throughout they were calling raffle numbers as well as giving presents for the oldest mom, the youngest, the one with the most kids, whoever had a red handkerchief, whoever had a blue headband. There were over a hundred prizes, mostly plastic containers, glasses, cups, bowls, pitchers, plates, buckets, etc. When they called my number I was planning to ignore it, but Diana who was sitting next to me had looked at my number and started pointing and saying it was me. My present is a clock, mounted in the middle of a molded plastic cow, with a calf sucking its milk, with milk pails in the foreground. The weird thing is that the hands of the clock are a fork and knife (looks like a little saw). It was oooed and aahhed over by the women around me.

There were so many prizes that they started asking kids to pick a number between 20 and 30. Any woman that age could come for a present. Finally they asked if there was anyone who hadn't gotten anything, and they gave the rest of the stuff to them, so everyone received something. All of the women were gussied up, except of course me, mostly because it didn't even occur to me, but I did put on a clean blouse. It was really nice to see the mothers being honored in a public event.

As for the clock, I bought a battery for it and hung it on the wall, but the tick tick tick drove me crazy, so I gave it away to one of its many admirers.

Lorena's Note: Dobie and Sergio are homesteading in a former coconut plantation on Mexico's Pacific Coast. For their latest updates, click below.

©1972-2004 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens