Way back in Ancient times, the Greeks and Romans were on to something when they held festivals to pay homage to their goddesses of motherhood, Cybele and Rhea. These annual spring get togethers included food, dancing and singing. The French call it “Fetes Des Meres” and set aside the fourth Sunday in May as their day of reverence. Family dinners are held and cards and flowers are bestowed upon their loved ones. Folks in the UK have long celebrated their mums on the fourth Sunday during Lent when the faithful return to their “mother” church for a special mass. Referred to as Mothering Sunday, cards and gift-giving are also a part of their tradition.
May 10th is the busiest day of the year for restaurants in Mexico. It’s then that families gather to honor their madres and enjoy good food. Gifts of flowers, especially roses are a must as well as children singing sweet serenades of “Las Mananitas” to mark the occasion. In Japan, they celebrate the same day we do, the second Sunday in May and shower their hahas with flowers. And on August 12th, people in Thailand commemorate Queen Sirikit’s birthday and their maes alike with parades and gifts of jasmine garlands.
From my journal, May 8, 1994 Rolling Hills Estates, CA
“Happy Mother’s Day ! My mom is a gem…I am very fortunate…”
Growing up, Mother’s Day always began with my dad making blueberry pancakes and baking a cake to savor later on. Although they were a treat for our well-deserved mom, we of course enjoyed them, too! After breakfast, my two brothers, sister and I would give her our wrapped gifts while she sat on the couch in our living room. We’d be so excited for her to open them and she’d feign surprise as to what they were. These presents were usually handmade at school, so whatever my older brother gave her the previous year was what I’d be giving her that year, followed by my sister then younger brother. Among the treasures she received were abstract finger paintings, crayon written cards covered with red hearts and colorful lopsided pinch pots. As we got older, the presents and cards were store bought and we would celebrate over brunch, but the sentiment was always the same – love for our mom.
Years later and miles apart, Mother’s Day is still as special now as it was then. Yet no matter the gift or gesture – a handwritten poem, flowers, chocolates, a phone call, it can never convey how important she is and always will be to me. Like all moms, she was my first teacher. From her, I learned to respect and love myself and others. Be kind to everyone. Always lend a helping hand. I could do or be anything I wanted as long as I worked hard. And to enjoy the life I’ve been given and have fun! My mom truly is a gem and I am so very fortunate.
It doesn’t matter what the holiday is called, where it takes place, what time of year it is or if together or apart. Celebrating and honoring one of the most significant and influential people in our lives…our Moms, is all that counts. Happy Mother’s Day to all!