“Mañanitas" for Mater in Guadalajara, Mexico

  • Mater Admirabilis celebration in Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Mater Admirabilis celebration in Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Mater Admirabilis celebration in Guadalajara, Mexico

In the Mexican Republic, there is an ancient custom of celebrating the birthday or saint of a person, especially women, with the singing of the "Mañanitas". It is believed to be a tradition that came from Spain, but there is evidence of its use since the early 19th century. It arrives in the street or at the house of the person being celebrated, around 5 or 6 in the morning, with guitar(s), mariachi, trios, and several songs are sung, all according to the possibilities of those who are offering this entertainment. "The "Mañanitas" are sung by the groom to the bride, the husband to his wife, the children to their mother, and on "Mother's Day", groups of young people get together to sing the "Mañanitas" to their respective mothers. The first song begins with: "These are the Mañanitas that King David used to sing, today because it is your birthday (or your saint's day or to the beautiful girls) we sing them here".

The Sacred Heart School was already in its "third era", since on two occasions the nuns were expelled by the Revolution or because of religious persecution. Around 1945, someone had the idea that the senior class would be in charge of preparing and singing the "Mañanitas" to the Blessed Mother on her feast day, at about six o'clock in the morning. All the seniors were invited and a good number of us students used to walk to the school. It was very exciting to walk in the dark through the deserted streets, to pass by the classmates who lived along the way and to sing with enthusiasm and devotion to the Blessed Mother the songs prepared by the senior class, who faced this responsibility with joy and fear.

Soon the alumnae organized themselves to continue with this custom after leaving the school. They would arrive after the students, at 7 or 7:30 am.

Each year, it was a fundamental part of the Blessed Mother's celebration for students and alumnae to invent lyrics for well-known songs, to rehearse and then to offer her these original concerts.

This celebration changed at the school starting in 1995, due to insecure conditions and the significant increase in the student body. The alumnae continued with the tradition, creating very beautiful and meaningful songs, rehearsing when the celebration was approaching and inviting young alumnae to join the group of guitarists.

This tradition has been going on for 76 years! It was the pandemic in 2020 that forced it to be suspended. For how long? Will it resume when possible? We don't know, but we wanted to share this beautiful and ancient tradition.

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