Every August 15 in Costa Rica is Dia de la Madre or Mother’s Day. Itis an important holiday in Costa Rica, some even say the most important, given that Costa Rica to some extent is a matriarchal society.

Mother’s Day is a national holiday. Government offices, banks, schools and professional offices (ie, doctors, dentists, etc) are closed. Many businesses and retail stores close on this holiday.

Workers are allowed the day off or must be paid double (pago obligatorio in Spanish) if asked to work. The key word is “asked”, as employers cannot take repercussions against an employee who refuse the work on the holiday.

This year, falling on a Friday, it means a long weekend for many. Several years ago the country’s lawmakers decided that Mother’s Day would be celebrated on the Monday following August 15. That plan failed. August 15 is Mother’s Day in Costa Rica and no law can change that. Protests forced legislators to scrap the law, returning to the celebration the day it falls on.

Mother’s Day today in Costa Rica has become more commercial that in the past. Cards, elaborate flower arrangements, expensive gifts and dinner at restaurants, blamed on North American influences. Giving the gift of an appliance or electronics, a day at the spa, etc. are modern gifts, treating “mother” to the best they can afford to show appreciation.

Although Mother’s Day may be celebrated differently depending on the social status, one thing is certain, no mother goes unnoticed on this very special day.

So, don’t forget to wish today every woman you know  or meet today a “feliz dia de la madre!”.

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