Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother's Day

For most of my adult life I lived overseas, and for some reason, Mother's Day was a different day overseas than it was in the U.S.  For instance, in Jordan and Oman this year Mother's Day was on March 21.  So between the long and unreliable mail service, lack of internet in those days, and expense of phone calls, I was sorely lacking in attentiveness to my mother.  Certainly mothers of elementary aged children are the best celebrated moms of all because teachers take time out to have the kids make cards.

But regardless of the ambivalence of older American children and expatriate grown up children, make no mistake:  The South American mothers are not overlooked!  This is no Hallmark day for them.  The first year we lived in Peru, we learned very quickly that the biggest holiday of all  is not Christmas, not Easter; it is Mother's Day.

Mothers are revered, and not just on Mother's Day.  There is a custom in Peru where kids kiss their moms hello and goodbye. Yes.  Really.  Adolescent males kiss their moms hello and goodbye. What is also notable is that kids' friends kiss their friend's moms, as a matter of manners.  I had teenage boys, and I saw with my own eyes my boys kiss, in greeting (the equivalent of "Hello Mrs. Baldino") their friends' mothers.  Their Peruvian friends kissed me. (but alas, no, my boys did not kiss me hello and goodbye; some cultural boundaries don't break down).  The point of which is just to say that Mothers are revered all year long.  I'm sure it is related to veneration of the Virgin Mary.

So in Peru, on Mother's Day, there is no restaurant available for brunch.  There are no flowers left in the shops.  There is no mother cooking or cleaning on that day.

So mothers, at dinner sometime, tell your families about the biggest holiday in Peru. Then tell them that while they missed Mother's Day in Jordan and Oman and UAE (March 21), and Portugal and Spain (May 1), there is still time to celebrate the day again with Sweden and France (May 29), Kenya (June 26), and again with Panama (Dec 8)!

Your mother, or mother of your children, would love some Peruvian Opals for Mother's Day

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