Many who live outside of Costa Rica know that Mother’s Day falls on the second Sunday in May, most likely if you’re from Canada or the United States. However, here in Costa Rica, Dia de la Madre is celebrated every August 15.e. Although recognized on different dates, sentiments do not change from country to country.
Mothers, wives and grandmothers are honored on their special day, giving thanks for all they do for the family. The sacrifices that are made and the important role they play in the home and in the lives of others. Costa Rica is still a very traditional country. Regardless of whether the mother works outside the home, it remains rooted in her usual habits of cooking, cleaning, and caring for the family as a monarch.
I had the privilege of living near one of the most respected and hardworking mothers and wives I have ever known. I see her every day putting her family first, watching her probably work harder than some people I’ve seen working outside the home. Starting before dawn to make gallo pinto like the others like it, lunch is served for family and workers and dinner is always ready when they’re done even if she doesn’t eat herself.
The hours of spotless tidying up after finishing cleaning the local supermarket, the non-stop laundry and the endless sweat. But you know what, I’ve never heard her complain since I’ve known her. What I hear though is singing and whistling and I admire his strength and positivity. She does all of this with her heart and her love for her family.
She never judged me when I cried as I tried to adapt to the country, even after all these years, nor criticized my attempts at Costa Rican cuisine. Instead, she took me under her wing to guide me as another member of her family who lives next door. Without prejudice or boundaries, she embodies the true friendship we hear about among Costa Rican people and models the essence of a strong mother.
Mothers in the United States and Canada often have a tradition of getting cards, candy, flowers, breakfast in bed, brunches, and spa days. Those who are loving mothers to their pets are included as family and friends send them well wishes acknowledging them as mothers to their fur babies.
Other countries like Peru make it a point to visit the graves of their deceased female figures. The sites are stored and decorated in memory with sincere and festive sentiments. Mexico always makes sure mothers hear the sounds of the mariachi band serenading them with “Las Mananitas.” Haitians celebrate in prayer and song while honoring their mother by wearing a flower representing whether she is here or gone.
In Costa Rica, the family is at the heart of the culture and Dia de la Madre is a day when mothers feel special for the essential role they play here in the country. Bouquets of all kinds are given to mothers as flowers are one of the most popular gifts. Gestures of perfumes, sprays and soaps, whatever Mom feels special and appreciated as a thank you.
It goes without saying that a vacation in Costa Rica comes with some of their treasured dishes at the center of the celebration. Yes, you’ll see plenty of restaurants and sodas filling up, giving mom a much-needed break. Turn the tables and save him hours in the hot kitchen. Being served your favorite dish and especially without cleaning it.
But many are spending the day at home, gathering and enjoying each other’s company. The simple pleasures that can be taken for granted as life takes care of daily routines or moves on to raising a family of its own. Mom always ends up cooking on Dia de la Madre but with the company of others. Whether it is children young or old, sisters and extended family, she is not left alone. Laughter, music, some cervezas, and the big meal is ready to be shared.
Arroz con pollo is usually prepared in many households for Dia de la Madre, rice with chicken is one of the popular dishes in the country. Picadillo de papa made with cut potatoes, minced meat, peppers and onions is another traditional dish served with tortillas. And of course you have your grilled meats. Focusing on family and loved ones, spending quality time with each other, and thanking Mom for all she does is at the forefront of this special day.
Dia de la Madre also falls on the feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a day observed by Catholics for which the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven after her earthly life with body and soul. Many will go to church before their afternoon feast or a family day in the countryside.
Government offices, banks and institutions will be closed, so plan a relaxing day. Enjoy the holidays in one of the national parks, reserves or wildlife refuges, at the beach, or simply with a cold cerveza and good Costa Rican food, enjoying the mother figures in your life.