Today, December 8, is both the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and Mother’s Day here in Panama. Since the 1930’s, it has been a national holiday, which means the schools, the banks, and most businesses close for the occasion. This year it is also on a Monday, which makes for a comfortably long weekend for everyone.
Except for all the business shutdown, Mother’s Day here is quite a bit like Mother’s Day in the States. The mothers rest and their men take care of things, at least in theory. One thing they are supposed to handle is the food, but often it is handled by other women. Mothers are also often honored with gifts and flowers.
Family is a very important aspect of life in Panama, and Mother’s Day is a perfect excuse for the family to gather and honor the matriarch.
There are some genuine differences as well, especially in the smaller towns and villages of the interior. There, sometimes the men gather in the evening and stroll about singing to guitars while serenading the women. I have trouble even imagining this happening in, for example, Schnectady, New York.
But I really like the idea.
It’s a lovely day and a fine tradition.