In Bolivia, El Día de la Madre (Mother's Day) is celebrated every year on May 27. But unlike many other countries, the significance of this day does not come from a religious background or from a single individual or act - rather it pays homage to a group of incredibly brave women who died fighting for what they believed in.
On May 27, 1812, the infamous Spanish general Goyeneche unexpectedly led his troops into combat against a growing revolution of Bolivians in a small town today known as Cochabamba.
The Bolivian men and husbands were away at the time fighting for their country, so the women decided to organize and arm themselves to protect their children and their homes. They launched a brave yet heavily unequal combat against the Spaniards, scaling San Sebastian Hill (the Coronilla) with the rallying cry of "Our home is sacred".
The women fought bravely, but the massacre that ensued saw the death of every Bolivian woman on the Coronilla that day. Three days later the city was completely occupied by the Spanish.
On November 8 of the same year to commemorate the courage of the heroines of the Coronilla, May 27 was officially established as Mother’s Day in Bolivia.
Fast forward to today, and May 27 is a happy and respectful occasion. It is celebrated particularly strongly in Bolivian schools, with activities divided into two parts - a special program where the children pay homage to mothers, and another where the children warmly invite them into their classrooms.
Activities are prepared a month in advance for this beautiful day, and include shows, meals and traditional dances. According to tradition, the young Bolivians present a big cream cake to their mothers instead of a bouquet of flowers as is done in other countries.
Here at beyondBeanie, Mother's Day has particular significance to us. Many of the amazing female artisans we work with have anywhere up 5+ children, with these large families often only having one working parent. Indigenous women in Bolivia often come from tough backgrounds, and it is not uncommon for a mother to be left raising her children on her own - a reality for many of our artisans.
But these beautiful women absolutely love the work they do for beyondBeanie. It not only gives them a purpose, but the income earned from each of the products they create is invaluable to the support and care of their families, and the provision of food, medicines and education. The love our artisans have for their children, as well as the passion they have for their work here at beyondBeanie is why we love them so incredibly much.
Written by Steve Connors
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