One of Mexico’s most beloved festivities is the “Día del niño” (Children’s Day), a time to celebrate children and often pamper them, the day when school teachers bring candy to their class and when shows, circuses and Disney movies are expected to sell out. Some might also say that part of its popularity lies in giving many grownup’s inner child a day out, doing all the things adults can only do when accompanied by children.
This celebration every April 30 has, however, a deeper meaning than showing the little ones a good time. Despite the first mention of Children’s day in Mexico going back to 1916, registered as a celebration in the town of Tantoyuca, state of Veracruz, it wasn’t institutionalized until 1924, after Mexico ratified the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child during the presidency of Álvaro Obregón. The celebration was meant to serve as a reminder of the rights of children and to reflect on their wellness, especially in the aftermath of WWI.
When the United Nations promoted a Universal Children’s Day in 1954, the date suggested was Nov. 20, which conflicted with Mexico’s Revolution Day and led to April 30 being preserved.
Since then, great efforts have been made to grant children more and better rights, with the Declaration of Child Rights in 1959, and the Convention on Child Rights in 1989. In this sense, April 30 is a chance to remember the long process that led to children’s need for care and protection to be upheld by law and to remember those not yet afforded these rights. It is also a day to simply put a smile on the face of a girl or boy, and maybe indulge in a bit of childishness of our own.
PUPPETS OFFER CHILDREN’S DAY DELIGHT
As part of Mexico City’s celebration of Children’s Day, the company “Marionetas de la Esquina” (Puppets from Around the Corner) invites children and their parents to have a great day with the special program prepared by La Titería, House of Puppets and Marionettes, where shows and workshops will be held.
Some of the plays include “Belisaaa, ¿dónde estás?” (Belisaaa where are you?), that tells the story of Tremendis, the monster who spreads chaos in a harmonious city; “Cerca” (Near), which describes a friend’s exciting adventure; and “El globo flotando” (The Floating Balloon), which introduces Eloy, a boy who loses his life in a market while searching for his balloon.
The recently opened La Titería Cultural Center represents a space dedicated to girls and boys, including a forum, an exposition gallery and a garden. The center’s director, Lourdes Pérez Gay, stated that this wonderful place is open to children because scenic performing arts for them are important everywhere, but they are essential in a country like Mexico.
With this in mind and for more than 40 years “Marionetas de la Esquina” has been one of the standout puppet companies in the country. Its commitment to exploring the world of children and imagination, through visual and performing arts of great quality, has led them to plant the seed of puppeteering and love for theater in various generations.
Tickets for La Titería on April 30 and May 1 can be purchased for 50 pesos per play, or 150 pesos for all three shows and a workshop.