Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Origins

Happy Mothers Day

Mother's Day was both founded and celebrated for the first time in 1908 in America by Anna Jarvis when she held a memorial for her mother. Then she launched a successful campaign to create "Mother's Day" and have it recognized as a national US holiday, which took place in 1914. It wasn't long before Anna was to be disappointed by the extensive commercialization of the new holiday during the 1920's but her holiday was adopted and adapted by many other countries and is now celebrated the world over. 

1916 Postcard, Northern Pacific Railroad
1916 Mother's Day Postcard from Northern Pacific Rail

In the Arab world Mother's Day takes place March 21st and was first introduced in Egypt by Mustafa Amin, a journalist, in his book Smiling America (1943). No one took the idea seriously at the time. Seems Mr. Amin heard a story about a widowed mother who devoted her entire life to raising her son til he became a doctor, married and left without the least ounce of gratitude towards her. Amin wanted to promote Mother's Day in appreciation for her and others like her, who had been left behind by their children and extended families. Of course the idea met with ridicule by Gamal Abdel Nasser, the then president but in time he accepted it and Mother's Day was celebrated for the first time on March 21st in 1956 and the practice has been adopted by the other Arab countries. 

Typical of any tyrannical regime, when Mustafa Amin was arrested and imprisoned, supposedly because of his journalism, the government made some serious attempts to force the change of the name of Mother's Day to Family Day so the people would forget its founder. Fortunately all attempts failed and Mother's Day has continued to be called by its proper name and celebrated on its proper date with classic songs that honor mothers and their efforts for their families, everywhere. 

Homemade Mother's Day gift
Here in Canada, we pack Mom into the car on the second Sunday in May and head out to her favorite restaurant! Family celebrations and gift giving characterize the holiday for mom, grandmom and all other important female figures in the family. It is not a public holiday or a day off for the banks; rather it remains a very personal and individual gathering with a wide variety of different activities.

 Mother's Day gifts

Celebratory practices in Canada are very similar to those of other western nations like Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Its the day that Canadians have chosen to express their gratitude and appreciation towards mothers, mother figures and all important women who have impacted our lives on this special day that was created for them ~ Mother’s Day. In one Québécois tradition many French men offer roses or other flowers to the women in their families and lives.


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