In 1925, Mexican president, Álvaro Obregón, and Public Education Minister, José Vasconcelos declared El día de los niños, Children’s Day, as an official Mexican tradition.

Today this multicultural celebration of children is celebrated across several Latin American countries.

The purpose of El día del los niños is to recognize the importance children have in society while also endorsing their well-being.

Here’s a list of countries that celebrate El día del los niños:

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

Mexico was one of the first countries to have a whole a day dedicated to children. After the Declaration of the Rights of the Child was proclaimed in 1959, other countries followed and declared their own El día del los niños.

On El día del los niños, children in Latin American countries contrary to belief do not get the day off from school. Instead, schools host music festivals, face painting, storytelling, art workshops and contests during school hours. Parents are also invited to join the celebration.

After 71 years of El día del los niños being celebrated in Latin American countries, its first celebration in the U.S. was in 1997 in conjunction with El día del los libros, Book Day. It is all thanks to Texas native and nationally recognized children’s book author, Pat Mora, who first heard of El día del los niños in 1996 in an interview for a public radio program.

As a children’s book author, Mora loved the idea of El día del los niños, but she wanted to add her own spin on it. She proposed the idea to celebrate El día del los niños with her new idea of El día del los libros.

Mora says, “We have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. We need kids’ day too, but I want to connect all children with book joy, the pleasure of reading.”

El día del los niños and El día del los libros is celebrated once a year, but it is a yearlong commitment to celebrate all children and to promote literacy and motivation.