Matriarchal Reverie

It all began with the vague memory of a historic day playing strange tricks on my mind. The ‘Calendarr’ showed 2022 Mother’s day as the 8th of May and my assumption that it falls on the same day every year is an aberration. Blissfully unaware of the real date, I not only organized a private party for my song and I but when a shopper asked me for the day’s date at Coles, I sincerely wished her a wonderful Mother’s Day. For someone who takes derisive pleasure in labeling others as ignoramuses, I found it very hard to accept that I had become the brunt of ridicule that day.

A few hours later, browsing on my laptop in between sips of wine, I discovered the true date of 2023 Mother’s Day to be the 14th of May. Recovering from what I deemed it as acute embarrassment, I took my habitual dive into history to rid myself off ignorance which revealed that Mother’s Day has always been observed on the second Sunday of May since 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson had officially declared the day as a national holiday. The American President gave into Anna Jarvis’ persistent effort to get the authorities to sanction a day to honor mothers throughout the world for their selfless sacrifices and good deeds. Belonging to Philadelphia, Anna Maria Jarvis who admired her mother for being a social activist not only held a memorial service for her in May 1907 but also organized the first Mother’s Day celebration in May 1908. She did not stop until she had established the Mother’s Day International Association, until almost every state in the US observed the day, and until the announcement of the day as an official holiday.

A tradition that originated in the US in the 8th Century has been celebrated differently in many countries because of varied reasons. Thailand celebrated Mother’s Day on August 12 which coincided with the birthday of their queen. Ethiopians, on the other hand, observed this day also known as ‘Antrosht’ in the autumn while enjoying a large feast amidst loud singing. While the Spanish, who dedicated the entire month of May to Virgin Mary, chose to celebrate Mother’s Day on the first Sunday of May, the Chinese honored poor mothers in the country with specific emphasis on the mothers in the rural area on this significant day. The Middle East’s observance of the day is interesting as they offered boats full of flowers to their mothers on the first day of Spring for it symbolizes new life. Ancient origin of this day began for the Greeks and Romans when festivals were held in honor of goddesses Rhea and Cybele. On this historic day, Hindus in India prayed to Goddess Durga, the mother of the Universe for blessings for their mothers and their families. Buddhists’ observance of “Ullambana” during which they pay their tribute to mothers and grandmothers is analogous to Mother’s Day in certain ways. As far as astrology is concerned (, the connection between the full moon and motherhood continues because of the moon’s synonymousness with the different stages in a woman’s life, from her birth to death.

Nostalgia followed the contented dive in the history pool and I was reality-struck. At my place, Mother’s Day is celebrated with pomp and glory, however not without other days being colored by fondness, ridiculousness, acerbity and animosity; the polar opposites caused by the so-called generation gap, especially when my offspring blossomed into adulthood. My preference to cling on to pleasant and satisfying memories is evident from my decision to share a video that I had created for Mother’s Day a few years ago, and published on YouTube.

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