Feliz día de las madres! Mother’s Day in Mexico

Yesterday most of the world celebrated Mother’s Day.  Here in Mexico, we celebrated Día de las Madres the day before, May 10.  Each year on this date the people of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico honor their mothers and wives.  The holiday is a vibrant, all-day affair marked with loud church masses, bright local parties, and even parades.  The day is celebrated with as much enthusiasm as any Mexican holiday – except, surprisingly, Cinco de Mayo, which is really a cleverly marketed Gringo holiday.

Día de las Madres traditionally starts with an acappella or mariachi rendition of the famous song Las Mañanitas and an early-morning breakfast of tamales and atole for the mothers.  Throughout the day families aim to spend as much time with their mothers as possible, showering them with flowers, gifts and, at least in Sayulita, wondrous cake-lady cake.

Mother’s Day is gaining momentum as a commercial holiday in Mexico and, as such, businesses are becoming increasingly involved each year.  Shops offer discounts for mothers, street vendors sell flowers and heart-shaped chocolates (apparently bought in the clearance isle after Valentine’s Day) and restaurants compete for the most mom-friendly meals.  In Sayulita, however, the competition is obliterated by two outstanding Mother’s Day meals: breakfast at the iconic Chocobanana and dinner at Rustica Pizza.

Chocobanana, a certifiable Sayulita landmark, starts the day off with a doting dining experience.  A barrage of shirtless male waiters, which one passerby calls “hunky hunky” serve complimentary champagne and chocolate covered strawberries with breakfast.  A mariachi band serenades the mommas and the restaurant’s owner, Tracie Willis, ensures every mother leaves with a rose.

Hunky waiters at Chocobanana, Sayulita

Empty champagne bottles on Mother's Day at Chocobanana, Sayulita

Photos Tracie Willis/Chocobanana

Throughout the day, families enjoy each other’s company (much like any day in family-oriented Latin America), and although Mother’s Day isn’t an official holiday in Mexico, many businesses give staff the afternoon off to celebrate.  Everyone takes part – even the butcher shop, where I’m given a ridiculously moist, rose-embellished cupcake as soon as the cashier sees my “babies” (it’s a very dog-friendly town).  Throughout town, several restaurants advertise dinner deals, but none of them beat the evening experience at La Rustica.

20140510 Rose cupcake Mother's Day

LJ and I walk to the tiny, curbside restaurant around sunset.  We sit at a lovely little table on the cobblestone street, surrounded by larger groups – a Mexican family to my left, American to my right.  We’re quickly greet and served drinks, and we other the Mother’s Day special.

Every item of our candlelit, three piece meal is delicious.  First out is a delectable spinach salad made with walnuts, halved grapes, goat cheese, and a phenomenal dressing.  Our main course is a wood-fire baked, thin-crust pizza topped with almond pesto, grilled chicken, sundried and cherry tomatoes, caramelized onions, basil, mozzarella and goat cheese – divine. Finally, for desert, we’re served a mouthwatering, fresh baked dark chocolate brownie topped with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce.  All of this for 200 pesos (less than $20).

20140510 Spinach Salad at La Rustica

20140510 Pesto chicken pizza at La Rustica

20140510 Chocolate brownie at La Rustica

Feliz día de las madres!

An itinerant entrepreneur, Nadia travels slow and low in search of clean eats, dirty Jeeps, and good vibes. Meanwhile, she works with entrepreneurs and organizations to create memorable and successful brands.


  1. Great write up on Mother’s Day, Nadia! The ChocoBanana celebration was a beautiful start to the day. This year, Mother’s Day coincided with the twenty year anniversary of ChocoBanana, a Sayulita institution. Great job, Tracie :)

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