Celebrating Mother’s Day Around the World
by JoAnne Disney
May 7, 2014 • 4,963 views
Mother’s Day is one of the most celebrated holidays of the year. Children and adults of all ages honor their mothers on this day. History tells us “the woman who started the Mother’s Day holiday we celebrate now was Anna M. Jarvis. She was born in a small town called Grafton, Virginia. Jarvis founded Mother’s Day in honor of her own mother, Anna Reeves Jarvis, who died on the second Sunday in May, 1905.” She also started the tradition of wearing a carnation. Today, it is customary to wear a red flower if your mother is living and a white flower if she is deceased. In addition, on May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson announced that Congress had voted to make Mother’s Day a national holiday. Wilson said, “Everyone everywhere should honor the mothers of our country.” Mother’s Day has been on the second Sunday in May ever since then.
Research tells us that in other parts of the world, Mother’s Day is celebrated with other unique dates. In Kenya, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the last Sunday in June, while in Costa Rica it is celebrated on August 15th. In Russia, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the last Sunday in November while in Indonesia it is celebrated on December 22nd. It is told that in most Middle Eastern countries Mother’s Day is celebrated on March 21st.
I had the privilege of interviewing Chinese students in Mrs. Sarah Zhou’s Chinese class at San Gabriel Mission High School. The students told me that celebrating Mother’s Day is relatively new in their country. It all began in the 1990’s as our American culture influenced the Chinese, and hence they began to celebrate Mother’s Day on the same day we do. It is becoming more popular as the younger generation buys carnations for their mom’s and spends quality time with them. The students said there are many commercials on television advertising Mother’s Day. They think it is a good idea to celebrate mothers and thank moms for all they do for their children. Other countries that celebrate Mother’s Day on the 2nd Sunday in May are: India, the Philippines, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Books tell us that in Spain, Mother’s Day is celebrated on December 8th which links the religious beliefs in Mary, the mother of Jesus. Other sources tell us that in Mexico “el Dia de la Madre” is a special holiday celebrated on May 10. “Recognition of Dia de Las Madres or Mother’s Day began in 1922 when a journalist, Rafael Alducin, wrote an article advocating the celebration of Mother’s Day in all of Mexico. Though the practice had already spread to parts of Mexico, Aludcin’s article led to widespread observance of the holiday, and May 10 became the universal day of celebration in Mexico.” According to www.timeanddate.com “the celebration soon took on religious undertones, with images of the Madonna and Child being displayed on Mother’s Day. The day has gained widespread popularity over the years!” Today, most Hispanic students celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May, which include all of our American traditions.
In Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, there are many descriptive adjectives for the word “mother,” among them to show tenderness and affection as well as to care for and to protect. I think these words are exactly what mothers do. What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than to honor all of the special mothers in your life.
So to all mothers, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!