This Mother’s Day, Honor Her with Color and Music at the HMNS Processional of Guadalupanas

by Ruth Cañas

Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.

The modern American holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, W.V. Following her mother’s death in 1905, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. Her mother had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day as a national holiday to honor mothers, held on the second Sunday in May. This year, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8.

CEREMONIAL CUSTOMS

procession1

Courtesy Niall Crotty

While Mother’s Day is celebrated throughout the world, traditions vary depending on the country. In Ethiopia, families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood. Thailand celebrates Mother’s Day in August on the birthday of the current queen, Sirikit. In the United States, Mother’s Day continues to be celebrated by presenting flowers, cards and other gifts. Mexico celebrates Mother’s Day on May 10. Flowers are a must, and the day is also filled with music, food, celebrations, and often a morning serenade of the song “Las Mañanitas” from mariachi singers.

THE MOTHER OF MEXICO, EMPRESS OF THE AMERICAS

“Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you.”

procession2

Wikimedia

In 1531, Mary appeared to San Juan Diego, a humble indigenous farmer and laborer, at Tepeyac near modern-day Mexico City and asked him to build a church in her honor at the top of Tepeyac Hill, the site of a former Aztec temple dedicated to the goddess Tonantzin. She miraculously left her image on his tilma (a type of cloak), which he presented to the Spanish archbishop as proof of her request which is still on display at the Basílica de Guadalupe, one of the most-visited shrines in the world. Since then, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been a symbol of faith, unity and mercy for people all over the world.

COMMEMORATING MOTHERS

procession4

Courtesy Michele Whisenhunt

Sunday, May 8, the Houston Museum of Natural Science is celebrating Mother’s Day and honoring the Virgen of Guadalupe with a special evening Guadalupan procession with the Our Lady of Guadalupe Association Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. As president, Pablo Guzmán was instrumental in creating an event that is bound to delight audiences of all ages. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Guadalupan procession is the cross-cultural mix of pagan and religious influences featuring elements that demonstrate the great love and devotion for the Empress of the Americas.

Joyous music including everything from mariachis to drummers to singing groups dressed in white and brass bands.

Bearers of bannersicons, treasure, homemade art, statues and other eye-catching items.

Scents provided by flower bearers, censers of incense, and roses.

Skilled performers, such as indigenous dancers known as matachines, marchers, and folk dancers.

procession5

Courtesy Michele Whisenhunt

Special costumes of revelers dressed in Aztec regalia, adorned with feather headdresses and rattles on their ankles, carrying drums or feather shields. Girls dressed to imitate the Virgin of Guadalupe, many wearing red and green attire to resemble the flag of Mexico where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego.

procession3

Courtesy Michele Whisenhunt

We hope you will join us in honoring motherhood with a spectacular experience! Click here to buy your tickets or call 713.639.4629.

FURTHER READING:

History of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day Celebrations Around the World

Our Lady of Guadalupe

San Juan Diego

Words Spoken by Mary at Guadalupe

Editor’s Note: Ruth is Program Manager in the Adult Education department of the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 5/2-5/8

Last week’s featured #HMNSBlockParty creation is by Dylan (age: 9):

block party 20

Want to get your engineering handwork featured? Drop by our Block Party interactive play area and try your own hand building a gravity-defying masterpiece. Tag your photos with #HMNSBlockParty.

Cultural Feast – Amazonian Culinary Adventure
Wednesday, May 4
7:00 p.m.
During the 16th century, Spanish and Portuguese explorers searching for gold and other valuable commodities in the Amazon often suffered from food shortages. They had little or no interest in the exotic flora on which the native population thrived. With more scientific exploration by scholars beginning in the 18th century, the value of many of the native Amazonian plants and trees was soon recognized, as reflected in their impact on industry, medicine and cuisine. Chef David Cordúa will create innovative dishes featuring ingredients native to the Amazon, while culinary historian Merrianne Timko places the edible Amazon in historical context.

Cabinet of Curiosities opens Friday, May 6
As an homage to its own history, the Houston Museum of Natural Science will be presenting an interpretation of the cabinet of curiosity. Visitors will have the unique opportunity to peruse various objects of curiosity and wonder, up close and in a personal way.

Class – Virgen de Guadalupe Procession
Sunday, May 8
6:30 p.m.
The vibrant troupes of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Association will perform a special Mother’s Day procession in honor of the Holy Mother with music, dancing, elaborate costumes and Aztec feather headdresses. Live commentary will describe the symbolism unique to each troupe and traditions of Guadalupana processions.

The Adventures of Archie the Traveling T. Rex: Big Bend National Park

by Charlotte Brohi

Well, it’s Archie reporting in….

After my visit to Paris, I thought it high time I went to a place closer to home that has fossil records of some of my friends in the dinosaur world. Can you guess where?

charlotte1

So, I hunkered down in my suitcase for the short flight to Midland, Texas, my jumping-off point for my adventure to the Big Bend National Park. Don’t worry. I brought sun protection (a hat) and extra water because I was planning to hike as well as learn a few things.

charlotte3

You are probably asking, “but Archie, why Big Bend?” To be honest, I was totally inspired to go WILD and visit a national park ever since I saw the new Giant Screen/IMAX film at HMNS called National Park Adventure 3D. That’s me in my 3D glasses below. Spoiler alert: this film showcases 13 of the famous parks and it has better music than what is on my playlist!

Charlotte2

Feeling adventurous, and having learned that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park system I just knew I HAD to go! How often do we get to celebrate a centennial? Do you know who is credited with this monumental feat? If you shouted to yourself, “President Teddy Roosevelt” then you would be correct! Sadly, he lost both his wife and mother on the same day but he credited his time in the wilderness as crucial to his emotional healing and thus inspired him to protect the wilderness. I LOVE being in the wild too, don’t you?

charlotte4

Because I didn’t want to play favorites I also ventured to Big Bend State Park. You can’t tell from this photo, but Big Bend is considered moderate-altitude (between 5,000 and 6,000 feet). I still had to catch my breath and take it slow up the trail. Remember, altitude can negatively affect those who are older and can only use half of their appendages when walking… Like moí! See, I did learn something in Paris.

As I prepared for my hike, I took a look around and remembered that Big Bend has the youngest of all Texas dinosaurs, dating to the end of the Mesozoic, 66 million years ago! I am walking in the footsteps of greatness!

charlotte5

The next day was pretty hot (100 degrees, to be precise) so I decided to stay cool in my traveling suitcase as I pondered the fact that more than 90 dinosaur species, nearly 100 plant species, and more than two dozen fish, frogs, salamanders, turtles, crocodiles, lizards, and even early mammals have been discovered here. But to most of us, it’s just so darn BEAUTIFUL!

charlotte6

And because I’m a good steward of the environment, I didn’t pack anything extra to take home with me. It’s important to preserve all cultural and natural artifacts. So I only took photographs and left only footprints.

charlotte7

Did you know that the Rio Grande River is the international boundary (1,000 miles) between Mexico and the United States, and the “big bend” follows more than 100 miles of that boundary? In fact, the park was named after the area, which has a large bend in the river. I love learning the origins of names. Just like my name, Tyrannosaurus Rex, which comes from Greek and Latin roots that mean “tyrant lizard king.” My friends just call me T. rex, though. Or Archie. It’s less intimidating.

charlotte8

The Stars at Night are Big and Bright…

Once the sun went down, I gazed at more than 2,000 stars. Big Bend has the least light pollution of any other National Park in the lower 48 states. There’s even a song to celebrate its greatness. I also used this cool app called StarView to identify stars and planets in the night sky. Jupiter, one of the five bright planets, was indeed bright and beautiful!

I didn’t want to leave, so I promised myself I’d come back when it’s a little cooler. Shoot, I may even decide to head to the McDonald Observatory in Ft. Davis (which has nothing to do with burgers and fries). But until then, I’ll get my stargazing fix at the George Observatory in Brazos Bend State Park, another very cool place to see the stars and enjoy the natural beauty of the great state of Texas.

You can find Archie and the whole Adopt-a-Dino family in the HMNS Museum Store. Drop by and take one home!

Editor’s Note: Charlotte is the Vice President of Film Program and Distribution for the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

‘Shark Finning Should Stop’: a Letter from the Next Generation

The Youth Education department at the Houston Museum of Natural Science received an unexpected letter last month from a concerned elementary school student named Octavia. She takes a stand against shark finning, an issue weighing heavily on the hearts of many around the world, and her letter is proof that we will certainly pass the environmental concerns of our generation on to the next.

When young people get involved in conservation, it secures the future of the planet. Youth Education was ecstatic to receive the letter, and hopes it will inspire more young people to consider the profound affect humanity has on the Earth’s environment. Here’s the full text of Octavia’s letter:

Octavia Letter

The letter arrived on Youth Education Curator of Collections Julia Russell’s birthday, so her colleagues passed the letter along to her. A “shark nut” by reputation, she embraced the letter as a welcome surprise.

“Sharks are a vital part of our ocean’s ecosystems,” Julia said, “but it’s hard to get people to warm up to these apex predators when they have such toothy grins. I’m so excited that there are young scientists out there, like Octavia, who are eager to educate people about shark conservation!”

Here’s Julia’s response, with information from Wildlife Teacher and Caretaker Melissa Hudnall:

Octavia Letter Response

Naturally, we’d love to see other students and adults get involved. Visit the OCEARCH web site to track shark migrations across the Earth’s five oceans, and visit the Texas State Aquarium to look into the lives of our oceanic cousins. Spread the word for Octavia; kids can make a difference!