Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

My wife Angela with our Ersatz-Baby Chubby. He’ll just have to do until we start having real human children.

Today is Mother’s Day in Costa Rica. It’s a day when families come together to honor their mothers by sitting around and drinking the traditional Mother’s Day drink: alcohol. Whether your family drinks Imperial or Pilsen depends on your individual family’s traditions, as does your choice of mixers with whiskey (some families swear by Coke, while my in-laws prefer ginger ale). In fact, to the untrained eye, Mother’s Day can look quite a lot like Father’s Day. Today we’ll discuss a few ways to tell the two celebrations apart.

Before I get into it, though, I’d like to include a short disclaimer: I really like my in-laws, and they’re all incedibly nice to me and have accepted me into their family with open arms. I’m just trying to be a bit humorous with my observations here since their different celebrations do tend to have a lot in common. Having said that, let’s get into it!

Costa Rican Mother’s Day is the same day every year (August 15th), and it’s a national holiday, for all intents and purposes. Father’s Day, on the other hand, is always on a Sunday in June, and the date changes every year (much like Mother’s Day in the USA). However, even though they happen at different times of year, they can look remarkably alike to the untrained eye. Confusing! So how can you tell them apart? Here are a few tips:

First of all, if you’re not sure whether you’re taking part in a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day celebration, listen carefully: do you hear pouring rain making a terrible racket on the tin roof above your head? If so, there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with a Mother’s Day, since the rainy season generally starts in July or August.

Also, look at your surroundings: are there any fresh flowers or gifts in cellophane-wrapped baskets? If so, again, it’s probably Mother’s Day, since it’s common knowledge that men hate the color pink and abhor fresh flowers. On the other hand, if you notice a few extra unopened bottles of whiskey sitting around (ie, “presents”), it may well be Father’s Day. Then again, it may just be a BYOB Mother’s Day.

Finally, if by some strange coincidence you don’t hear rain outside, train your ears instead to the conversation topics. If you’re a male, you’re likely sitting at the living room table, so listen to what the other men are talking about. Obviously, they’ll be talking about snakes and football (especially every 4 years when the World Cup rolls around), so you’ll need to listen carefully for mentions of coffee and the coffee harvest. If the guys are saying things like “If this rain keeps up, it’ll really destroy the harvest,” then it’s probably Mother’s Day.

That’s all well and good if you’re a male, but what if you’re a female? In that case, you’re probably hanging out in the kitchen, telling all sorts of gossip that I’ve never been privy to hearing. According to my wife, though, it’s the same gossip all the time, so it’ll be hard to tell whether it’s Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, or a normal Sunday evening gathering. I’m sorry I can’t help you more here, Female Costa Rica Outsider, but this is where my outsider expertise ends.

If you’re under 24 years of age or so, you’re probably chatting with your cousins, playing video games, or watching TV in an adjoining bedroom somewhere. Again, I don’t personally fit into this demographic, so I can only speculate about the topics of conversation. Still, you can keep your ears tuned to hear if someone says something like, “This is the best ____ Day ever!” However, if they fill in the blank in that sentence with “Arbor,” “Flag,” or “Bring Your Daughter to Work,” then be careful: they may be on to you and your spying ways, and they may just be toying with you before they attack.

So, to test your knowledge, let’s see if you can determine whether these pictures were taken on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day:


Were the following pictures taken during a Mother’s Day or a Father’s Day celebration? Read below each picture to see the solutions.

Picture 1: Mother’s Day or Father’s Day? We’ll start you off with an easy one.

Picture 1 Answer: This is an easy picture to get you warmed up. The answer to this one, of course, is Mother’s Day. How did you know? The presents with pink wrapping and bows, of course.

Picture 2: Mother’s Day or Father’s Day? This one is a bit trickier, but there’s a tell-tale sign if you know where to look for it.

Picture 2 Answer: Did you see it? That’s right, the front door is open, which means that it’s Father’s Day. If it were Mother’s Day, the front door would be closed since it’d be rainy, and the wet dog might try to come inside and get his muddy footprints all over the place.

Picture 3: Mother’s Day or Father’s Day? This is another tough one, but take a close look and you’ll find this picture’s “tell.”

Picture 3 Answer: I’ll admit, this is a difficult one, and even I might have had a bit of trouble figuring this one out. However, it turns out that I, Ryan Sitzman, hold the answer to this puzzle in my hands… or on my arms, as it were! That’s right, in this picture I’m wearing a long-sleeved shirt, so it must be Mother’s Day. I can only wear long-sleeved shirts during the rainy season, since it’s always too hot for them during the rest of the year (it’s still too hot in August, but by then the humidity is so high that if I don’t wear my long-sleeved shirts occasionally, they start to get moldy, so I need to wear them to air them out). This is sad but true.

Picture 4: Mother’s Day or Father’s Day? Difficulty Level: Impossible!

Picture 4 Answer: OK, Mr./Mrs. CSI, there is an easy way to figure out the answer to this one: look at the calendar. It says “junio,” so it’s obviously Father’s Day. However, if not for that, this one would be impossible for a mortal man to determine. I say mortal man, not mortal woman, of course, because this is the only known photograph ever taken of the inner sanctum of the Kitchen of Women. As such, we gentlemen can only speculate as to what they were talking about. Many Bothan spies died to bring us this picture.

So, how did you do on the quiz? If you got more than 1 correct, then you’re doing better than the average me, and you should be rewarded. Just have a seat and we’ll bring you a plate of food and something to drink. Do you prefer beer or a highball?

To everyone else, Happy Mother’s Day! (and Father’s Day, too, just in case)!

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Just One Monkey On One Of Infinite Typewriters at Costa Rica Outsider
Hello, and welcome to Costa Rica Outsider! My name is Ryan Sitzman. and I'm the proverbial "man behind the curtain" for this site. I hope you like it, and I'd love to hear any comments or feedback you may have. I also have a language learning blog at, or you can check out my personal site at Thanks for stopping by!

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