Day of the Child/Dia de los Ninos

A Mexican friend (and illustrator of my son & I’s chilldren’s book, Daniel the Robot Dinosaur), sent me the following article concerning a Latin American holiday which has no equivalent in the United States.

April 30 is the holiday in Mexico and it is celebrated in most major Central and South American nations on other dates. It has existed for decades and seems to have been the inspiration for UN’s “Declaration of Rights of the Child”, enacted in Switzerland in 1959.

As one might expect given what we face in family court, it states, “A child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother.” As one would also expect the word “father” is not to be found anywhere in the two full pages of the declaration.

April 30 is the official day to celebrate children in México. President Álvaro Obregón and Public Education Minister José Vasconcelos formally accepted the Children’s Rights Declaration in México on this day, which marked the beginning of “El Día del Niño” as a Mexican tradition.

México decided to add this holiday to the school calendar long before the UN got together in Switzerland on November 20, 1959. Representatives of all Nations got together to discuss children rights and voted this day to be Universal’s Children’s Day.

Here are 7 things you should know about “El Día del Niño” in México:

1) It is a national observance in México.

2) It has been celebrated in México since 1925.

3) Children do not get the day off from school.

4) Schools host special events inviting parents to celebrate with them during school hours. Some activities include: music festivals, face painting, story-telling, art workshops, and contests.

5) During this day, children are recognized as an important part of society so the day focuses on the importance of loving, accepting and appreciating children.

6) Some schools ask children to bring toys, candy or other presents, to make less fortunate children happy on this day. They also encourage them to donate to charity, such as orphanages.

7) Other Latin countries also have a special date to celebrate children:

Argentina – Second Sunday in August

Bolivia – April 12

Brasil – October 12

Chile – Second Sunday in August

Colombia – Last Saturday in April

Costa Rica – September 9

Cuba – Third Sunday in July

Ecuador – June 1

El Salvador – October 1

España – April 15

Guatemala – October 1

Honduras – September 10

Nicaragua – June 1

Paraguay – August 16

Panamá – Third Sunday in July

Perú – Third Sunday in August

Uruguay – Second Sunday in August

Venezuela – Third Sunday in July

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