Whether it is a product of increasing consumerism or people’s need to acknowledge the role a mother plays in one’s life, Mother’s Day has become one of the most celebrated unofficial holidays in the world. In 2018, that fateful day will fall on May 13, so you better get your greeting card, flowers, and gifts ready.
As the holiday’s name suggests, Mother’s Day is a day to honor all the mothers, mother figures, and motherly influences in the world. This holiday is thought to have started in the ancient times as a way to honor Rhea, the Greek mother of the gods. The Middle Ages also saw the practice of a Mothering Sunday where children who worked at neighboring farms and estates returned to their hometown and spend the day with their mothers.
In the modern age, Mother’s Day was officially brought to the attention of the general public when Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia held an event to honor her mother who had passed away two years ago. Jarvis wrote letters and sought support from Congress in order to create a nationwide Mother’s Day celebration.
This was approved in 1914. However, Jarvis saw that this special event intended for mothers was quickly become commercialized. For example, Jarvis intended Mother’s Day to be a day spent bonding with one’s mother, giving her flowers, and/or writing a handwritten letter to express gratitude. But then florists began selling and marking up the costs of flowers since it supposedly was Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis spent most of her remaining life denouncing what Mother’s Day has become.
Mother’s Day is celebrated every second Sunday of May in more than 40 countries in the world. Examples are Canada, Philippines, the USA, Australia, and Chile. Other countries like the United Kingdom have designated different dates for their respective Mother’s Day celebration. Some countries also celebrate Mother’s Day as part of a more generalized Parent’s Day holiday like in South Korea.
Despite the different days for celebrating Mother’s Day each year, this does not stop people from trending Mother’s Day wishes across social media every second Sunday of May.
Anna Jarvis has a good reason for denouncing the commercialization of Mother’s Day and we should all do so too. Mother’s Day should not be about choosing what best gift to give your mother. It should be about genuinely expressing thanks and recognizing the roles mothers play in our lives.
True, this can be done by gifting your mum the latest smartphone. If you have all the resources and it will not put you deeper into debt, then do so. But, also take time to truly assess what you are doing. Are you doing it just to appear in with the times? Does your mother really need that new designer handbag?
Perhaps what she really needs is just to spend time with her child who she seldom sees nowadays. How about penning a short letter on a Mother’s Day you have created yourself? Maybe your Mother will treasure this little acts more.