Today is Mother’s Day in Spain, a day when millions of mamás will receive gifts, cards, phone calls and messages.
Until 1965, Spain celebrated Mother’s Day on the 8th December, the Day of the Immaculate Conception, but in the 1960s one of the country’s biggest department stores, Galerias Preciadas, decided to follow Cuba’s example and celebrate it on the first Sunday in May, at a time of year when there were fewer competing celebrations to spend money on.
Motherhood has changed a lot in Spain. The traditional Catholic country where mothers would marry young and bear several children no longer exists. The average Spanish mother gives birth to her first child after her 31st birthday, and the average number of children for each woman is 1.25.
Single mothers still don’t have it easy, but they are no longer stigmatised, and, since the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2005 there are thousands of children growing up in households with two mothers or two fathers.
Despite all these changes, the figure of the mother is still powerful in Spain. She’s the one who will drive you crazy by insisting you finish the food on your plate or put a jumper on before you die of cold, the one who showers you with kisses in front of your friends, the one who will defend you like a tiger and the one who’s proud of every little thing you say and do. Just like mums everywhere.
Mothers are also a central element of Spanish culture, from the plays of Federico García Lorca to the films of Pedro Almodovar. Almodovar’s last film Dolor y Gloria,, currently available on Netflix, stars Penelope Cruz and Juliet Serrano as the mother of the hero, Salvador, in youth and old age, and is closely based on the director’s relationship with his won mother.
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