Mother’s Day is celebrated the world over, on different dates and with differing traditions. Here in the US, the day is traditionally marked by a bouquet of flowers, a handmade card, a family lunch and other tokens of affection.
History Chip is all about getting a broader picture of the world around us so this year we are taking a look at Mother’s Day celebrations across the globe.
Women are considered especially sacred in Native Indian philosophies as they are the ‘givers of life.’ Many tribes are considered matrilineal and observe female leadership. When President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order giving Mother’s Day special prominence, native communities across the United States responded with special events including ceremonies, powwows and performing songs that honor Native mothers.
The Antrosht festival, celebrated at the end of the rainy season, is dedicated to moms in the community. Family members from near and far gather and continue the festivities over a few days. Daughters traditionally bring cheese, vegetables and spices while sons bring meat, usually beef or lamb. The mom then prepares a meat hash and the whole family celebrates by singing, dancing and telling stories about heroes.
Many Nepali whose mothers have passed away gather together in a celebration called Mata Tirtha Aunsi. Flocks of people travel to the village of Matatritha in Kathmandu to wade in the sacred pond there to bring peace to the soul of their dearly departed mothers.
Hindus pay tribute to Durga, the goddess of mothers, during Durga Puja, a 10-day festival that dates from the 1500s. The celebration is considered a time for family reunions and families spend weeks preparing - homes are decorated, gifts are gathered and food is prepared.
Mother’s Day is known as ‘haha no hi’ and is celebrated on the same day in May as in the United States. The Japanese traditionally give their mothers gifts to mark the day, the most common of which is a bouquet of red carnations. Other traditions include daughters and sons preparing the types of meals their mothers would have taught them over the years.
La Fête des Mères is celebrated in France during the Summer. The French are very family-centered and commonly mark the day by sitting down to lunch with extended family. Napoleon established the day to honor mothers of large families in 1806, marking the first ‘official’ Mother’s Day. During the first world war, medals were distributed to mothers of four or five children as acknowledgement of their contribution to population growth.
During the Second World War, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were presented to women in recognition of the number of children they had produced for the Vaterland (Fatherland). These days, Muttertag has a more relaxed feel to it and is marked with the giving of cards, flowers and gifts.
The indigenous Andean population celebrates the gifts of Pachamama, or Mother Earth, in a special day of worship called Martes de Challa. In mythology, Pachamama is known as the bringer of fertility and the maker of earthquakes. Other Peruvians mark the day much like we do here with gifts, chocolates and family meals.
A peculiar tradition continues to this day where Mother’s Day takes place in December and forms part of a three-day celebration including Children’s Day and Father’s Day. Mothers are tied up until they agree to lavish treats and gifts to the children. On Children’s Day, the children are tied up until they agree to behave, and on Father’s Day, the same idea, dads remain tied up until they give their families Christmas presents.
History Chip is about providing a platform where everyone’s voice can be heard and everyone’s existence is acknowledged. What are your memories of Mother’s Day in your family? Which of the stories above was your favorite?