Mexico’s sacred Mother’s Day hindered by fight against COVID-19

By Pedro Pablo Cortés.

Mexico City, May 6 (efe-epa).- Mother’s Day, a sacred date celebrated by Mexicans on May 10, this year is hindered by the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as authorities in Mexico City have ordered the closure of flower shops, patisseries, and even graveyards to avoid celebrations and crowds.

The authorities’ actions surprised Adrian Luna, who went to Jamaica Market, the best-known flower sale site in the country’s capital, where hundreds of citizens were panic buying because the local government will close it from Thursday.

“I don’t agree… It’s a very important date for all Mexicans, for many people from many countries, because it’s tradition, that’s how our parents taught us, that’s how we follow it, we have to keep on with it,” Luna said in an interview.

Mexico has reached its most critical week for the coronavirus, with 26,025 accumulated cases and 2,507 deaths from COVID-19 so far.

The country’s health ministry has estimated May 8 as the peak of infections, coinciding with the weekend of shopping and Mother’s Day celebrations.

Fearing crowds, mayors in Mexico City and municipalities in other states, such as the State of Mexico and Nuevo Leon, have ordered the closure of cemeteries, patisseries, and flower shops.

In addition, the head of government of the capital, Claudia Sheinbaum, announced on Wednesday the postponement of Mother’s Day until July 10, so on May 10 there will only be a virtual festival with mariachis, concerts, and movies online.

“This May 10 we celebrate with a healthy distance, of course as a family, but with healthy distance: phone calls, video calls to mothers, grandmothers, and by July 10 we can get together as a family to celebrate it better,” she said.

Due to the public health crisis, the commercial and services sector will forgo 36 billion pesos ($1.4 billion) on Mother’s Day, 80 percent compared to last year’s sales, as predicted by the Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce, Services and Tourism.

Another sector affected by the lack of the celebration is restaurants, with 90 percent closed nationwide and an accumulated drop of 86 percent in sales, reported the National Chamber of the Restaurant and Seasoned Food Industry.

This is reflected in microentrepreneurs such as Martha Patricia Pérez, who highlighted the unprecedented closure, for the first time in its more than 60 years of existence, of the iconic Jamaica Market, which is now considered “a highly contagious area” by the capital’s authorities.

“When the disease began, sales went down a lot, and now they’re hurting us, because they’re going to close us down until May 18, and they say that maybe they won’t open until the 30th,” Pérez told EFE.

In Mexico, Mother’s Day has been celebrated on May 10 since 1922, following the official recognition of the then-secretary of public education, José Vasconcelos.

Since then, Mexicans have marked the day as an almost religious celebration in a country with 32.7 million mothers, according to an estimate by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography.

The decision to close the traditional markets seems “wrong” to florists such as Iván Huerta, who believes that customers will buy the products in the large chain stores anyway, without retaliation from the authorities.

For small traders like him, the dilemma is the risk of getting sick or losing their main source of income.

“It’s both, and the main thing, as we say, if we don’t die of disease, we die of hunger. Because the truth is that money goes away, and if we don’t have work, where are we going to get to eat?” he asks. EFE-EPA


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