Mother's Day in Spain. The "Día de la Madre" recurrs the first Sunday of May. Discover hoy spaniards celebrate Mother's Day
One of the favorite holidays in Spain is el día de la madre or Mother’s Day. Mothers have been the center of one celebration or another for thousands of years but this modern celebration is a 20th century invention. In Spain it is celebrated on the first Sunday in May and it is on this day when everyone pays tribute to mothers who may also receive a gift or two from their children.
This celebration, with its roots that go back millennia, is one that is celebrated in many parts of the world and may or may not have a religious connotation. This importance of motherhood is reflected in Christian thought and, probably more so, in Catholic teachings through the personality of the Virgin Mary. Within the Catholic Church one of the earliest tenets of the church rested on the Immaculate Conception of Jesus and December 8 was is the day chosen by the church to recognize this miracle—it is also considered Mother’s Day according to the Vatican. This belief influenced so much the Kingdom of Spain that since 1644, this day was proclaimed a national holiday keeping in line with Vatican thought.
As the times have changed there has also been a change in concept regarding this day. Today’s Mother’s day is heavily influenced by events in the United States in much the same way Father’s Day was. The first American Mother’s day celebration dates back to 1908 when a woman by the name of Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother. She started her mission of working towards the foundation of a Mother’s Day in 1905 and was finally able to see the fruits of her labor pay off in 1910 when some states finally recognized this day. Finally in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation stating that the second Sunday in May was to be a national holiday.
With the success this day has had in the United States many countries throughout the world have adapted their Mother’s Day celebrations to coincide more or less with the celebration in the US. For more than 300 years Spain celebrated this day on December 8 until 1965 when the celebration of Mother’s Day was separated from the Immaculate Conception. Along with Spain, most Catholic countries have disassociated Mother’s Day from the December 8 celebration of the Immaculate Conception. In Spain, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in May (compared to the second Sunday in May in the US).
While Spain celebrates Mother’s Day the first Sunday in May most Hispanic countries celebrate on the second Sunday in May, but there are some exceptions. Mexico celebrates this day on May 10th, Paraguay on the 15th, Bolivia on the 27th and Nicaragua on the 30th. Panama is the only Hispanic country to maintain Mother’s Day on December 8, the day of the Immaculate Conception.
Whatever your religion, background or belief, Mother’s Day is a universal celebration with a history that transcends cultures and religions. From Mother Earth to the trans-cultural Cybele figure, the bonds of motherhood and the influence of mothers exert in society goes back to our origins as a people.
Today this special day is a day to remember and cherish a loved one that has given us so much. In Spain, it is not uncommon for children to have spent weeks in school preparing a special gift or letter to give to their mother when she wakes up and if she’s especially lucky, maybe there will be a cup of coffee waiting for her in the kitchen.