Unlike most countries in the world that observe Mother’s Day every second Sunday of May, Paraguay’s Mother’s Day falls every 15th of May. It is the same day the country celebrates its full independence from Spain. The intention of the date is to memorialize Juana Maria de Lara. A noblewoman of Asuncion society who now holds the title of emissary of the May 14, 1811 revolutionaries.  

Raising of the Paraguay Flag During Independence Day Celebrations | Source: LaNacion PY

Juana Maria de Lara 

Born to Spaniard Carlos Jose de Lara and Paraguayan Luisa de Villanueva y Otazu, a wealthy social class couple in Asuncion in 1760, Dona Juana Maria de Lara spent most of her life on pious works. In 1785, she married her aunt’s widower, Captain Jose Diaz de Bedoya whose children she raised.  

Juana Maria de Lara | Source: ABC.Com

Widowed in 1806, Juana Maria de Lara dedicated herself to activities linked to the Catholic Church. She also professed in the Brotherhood of the Heart of Jesus and the Third Order of Penance of the Franciscan community. She was a close relative to conspirators de la Mora, JB Rivarola, the Acostas, PJ Cavallero, the Yegros, the Aristegui, and the Iturbes, giving her access to the movement plot. Dona Juana was also the Mayordoma of the Cathedral. The cathedral allowed the revolutionaries to peal the cathedral bells that declared the march towards freedom. 

Paraguay 10,000 Guaranies | 2011 | Source: Banknote World

On the next day after the Spaniards withdrew their troops from Paraguay, Juana Maria was also the first woman to arrive at the revolutionary headquarters to celebrate the victory. In addition she congratulated the revolutionary heroes, offering them a bouquet of red, white, and blue flowers.  

Paraguay Independence Banknotes 

This Paraguay 10,000 Guaranies banknote depicts Dr. Jose Gaspar “El Supremo” Rodriguez de Francia who was the first dictator following the country’s independence. On the reverse is an illustration of men gathered around the table, declaring independence. This scene is also depicted on the obverse of the 1,000-guaranie banknote issued in 1952. 

Paraguay 1,000 Guaranies | Men At Table Declaring Independence | 1952 | Source: Banknote World Educational

On the 50,000 Guaranies banknote from 2005 is the Casa de la Independencia located across the residence of Dona Juana Maria de Lara. The structure was formerly the house of the Martinez Saenz brothers. It’s where secret meetings of the revolutionaries and plans for the revolt take place. 

Paraguay 50,000 Guaranies|House of Independence | 2005 | Source: Banknote World Educational

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