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Families celebrate mothers, Mexican tradition (w/video)

By Sara Sneath
May 11, 2014 at 12:11 a.m.
Updated May 12, 2014 at 12:12 a.m.

Laura Salazar, of Victoria, left, hugs her mother, Maria Garcia, after surprising her by hiring  mariachi group  Serpientes de Oro to play for her on Mother's Day at La Villa Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, where Garcia lives, in Victoria. "She's been a wonderful mother and awesome inspiration to me," Salazar said.

Maria Garcia sat in her wheelchair, tears streaming down her face, as a mariachi band serenaded her for Mother's Day.

"She's always wanted mariachi for Mother's Day. She's been sick off and on. We don't know if she'll make it to next year," said Garcia's daughter, Laura Salazar.

Serenades for Mother's Day are a Mexican custom. Traditionally, mariachi bands played early morning serenades outside mothers' homes, waking them with songs of love. But in respect for neighbors and quite possibly mothers themselves - who we all know could use the extra sleep - the tradition has moved to the hours of daylight.

On Sunday, the Victoria mariachi band Serpientes de Oro drove from one gig to the next for about 12 hours, serenading moms in front yards, on porches and in a nursing home.

"We play for weddings, birthdays and quinceaneras, but Mother's Day is the only time we run around like chickens with their heads cut off," said Ashley Garcia, the violin player.

"We're not going to get super rich. We're not going to get recording contracts from playing in people's front yard," said Miguel Gonzales, the vihuela player. "We just do this for the love of doing it."

About 10 a.m., the band came to La Villa nursing home to serenade Salazar's mom, Maria Garcia, 60, of Victoria.

Garcia is originally from Monterrey, Mexico. Her father played in a mariachi band. As Gonzales burst into operatic solo, Garcia stood up from her wheelchair and gave him a hug.

Mother's Day meant something special for each of the families serenaded Sunday. For Salazar, it meant celebrating the time she has left with her mom. But for Rose Robles, 52, of Victoria, and her family, Sunday was the first Mother's Day without the matriarch of the family.

"We grew up listening to mariachi. We're a typical Mexican-American family," Robles said.

Robles and her sisters cried through the four songs Serpientes de Oro played for them. After making a deal for an encore, the family had one request: "Nada triste."

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