A tradition that turns 100: why in Mexico Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 10

Exactly 100 years ago, an initiative from a Mexican newspaper supported by the Mexican government, established the May 10 of each year as the date for celebrate mothers in the country. Since then, Mexico celebrates on that date, regardless of the day of the week.

It was at the proposal of the then Secretary of Education of Mexico, José Vasconcelos, and the businessman Rafael Alducín, journalist and founder of the Mexican newspaper Excelsior, and the Catholic Church that it was proposed to find a specific date to honor mothers in the country inspired by the celebrations that take place in the United States.

On April 13, 1922, Alducín launched the call on the front page of his newspaper to ask the government to institutionalize a date dedicated to mothers.

“Excelsior intends that May 10 of every year be consecrated by the children to extol in life or in memory of those who gave them birth,” the newspaper published.

The proposal was received with enthusiasm among the population that adopted that date, which led to the fact that on May 10, 1922, Mexico became the first nation of Latin America to pay well-deserved recognition to mothers.

Other versions of Mother’s Day

There are other versions that indicate that the month of May was selected for this celebration because it is the month consecrated to the Virgin Mary. Others maintain that the 10th was chosen because at that time in the country it was paid in the tens, every 10 days.

Some other sources indicate that the first Mother’s Day in Mexico was celebrated in Oaxaca in 1913, when the wife of a Methodist priest found a magazine where the celebration was discussed and decided to take up the idea.

It is also believed that this date was instituted, which in other countries is celebrated on the second Sunday of May, as a measure to f revive one of the first feminist movements from Latin America.

In 2019, the Mexican writer Guadalupe Nettel wrote an opinion column in The New York Times entitled “Celebrate mothers?” In it, he mentions that “few know that it was instituted as a measure to stop one of the first and largest feminist movements in Latin America, which began in Mérida, Yucatán, as a result of a feminist congress that received more than 600 participants in 1916.”

“After him, women from all over the republic began to demand the right to vote, to work, to sex education and free access to contraception, obtained by their Russian counterparts during the Bolshevik Revolution and later lost again under the mandate of Stalin,” Nettel noted.

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A tradition that turns 100: why in Mexico Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 10