(Second Sunday of May)
Posted on May 8, 2022
This is an update of my post published on May 8, 2011:
Different countries honor moms and grandmas on different days. Some countries celebrate on a specific date each year. For example, Thailand's Mother's Day is on the birthday of the queen (Aug. 12), and Mexico's Dia de la Madre is always on May 10. Other countries celebrate on certain Sundays (rather than certain dates). Romania's is the first Sunday in May, for example, and several countries celebrate today—the second Sunday in May. Some of the nations celebrating today are Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, and the United States.
There were efforts to create a day to honor mothers in the 1800s, but the holiday didn't catch on until Anna Jarvis, a woman who lived in West Virginia, enlisted the help of a wealthy Philadelphia merchant.
She promoted the holiday tirelessly from 1908 until 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914.
Ah! The sweet, sweet smell of success. Can't you just see how satisfied Jarvis must've been because she managed to establish a new holiday?
Apparently, less than a decade after the birth of Mother's Day U.S.A., the celebration had become a “Hallmark Holiday.” In other words, it had become thoroughly commercialized. Floral companies, jewelers, and greeting card manufacturers, among other commercial interests, started promoting the day heavily, and we now have industries that rely on Mother's Day gift-giving and restaurants that look forward to the holiday as their biggest day of the year.
And Jarvis was not the least bit pleased by this commercialization. She became an opponent of what the holiday had become, and she spent all of her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting against this commercialization—and she was even arrested in 1948 for protesting it! She regretted ever starting the holiday!
Jarvis certainly had the right to express her feelings about the commercialization of Mother's Day. But no more than Sally next door, Joe down the street, or you or me.
She may have thought of the holiday as “her baby,” and she might have thought that she had more rights than others to say how it would be celebrated—but, just like being a mother, creating a bit of culture does not ensure that you can control how that cultural item will be seen, used, or practiced. Giving birth to a child and even raising that child, you cannot (and SHOULD NOT!) completely control what the child is or does or becomes. If you establish a holiday, you cannot and probably should not control how others celebrate it and how it changes and evolves.
Do you agree?
Also on this date:
(Varies every year)
(Varies every year)
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