Mother’s Day

“One of the early calls to celebrate a Mother’s Day in the United States was the “Mother’s Day Proclamation” by Julia Ward Howe. Written in 1870, it was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. The Proclamation was tied to Howe’s feminist belief that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level.”

This is what Wikipedia has to say about Mother’s Day.

And I wonder how many people are even aware of how the day came about. But then people cannot be blamed. Most people do not even know how Valentine’s Day came about and that’s one of the most popular days celebrated. But till about 8 years ago, I had barely even heard of Mother’s Day being celebrated here.

The first time was when I saw an ad by Archies (the gift store in Bangalore) in a newspaper. It said Mother’s  Day was coming up and I should buy a gift for my mother to make her feel special. That was pretty much the extent of making her feel special then. Buy her a pretty photo frame and put photos of the family in it. Or a locket… or a ceramic mug or something like that.

And then the commercial world woke up and realised that here was something really powerful to market. ‘Ma’ is a popular word across cultures. More so in India…  the ‘mere paas maa hai’ sentiment combined with showing off how much you love someone by telling others what you bought for that special day.

We gave into the mania a few years ago and bought mom some gifts. She was amused… and annoyed that we gave into mass hysteria.

This year… it seems more crazy and more commercial. I have people sending me offers to buy my mother everything from grinders to a week at a spa to new footwear.

While I appreciate the sentiment behind the day – a special day to mark the most important person in our lives – I really feel stupid to be celebrating the day commercially or needing that day to tell my mother that I love her. And to prove my point… Anna Jarvis, the woman behind marking this day as special, has been opposing all the acts of commercialization that turned the day from what it was to be to another day of marketing.

“Take time to write a letter to your mother to tell her how special she is, not buy a printed card.”

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