Today is Mother’s Day, although in my Chinese classroom, it’s really been a week of Mother’s Day activities for my students. My Mother’s Day lessons focus on the history of the day ( how it came about and current Mom’s Day celebrations around the world), an article entitled “A Mother’s Letter to the World” and finally, we make cards for our mothers or a special friend/relative/teacher who is a mother. (A few students have lost their moms to illnesses, the mom has left them as children or they have strained relationships with their parent so I make sure to give another option.)
After cards are completed, the students take cell phone pictures and selfies to send to their moms. Since everyone in China has a cell phone now, including even grandparents, it’s easy to send notes, messages, postings and pictures to anyone across the country, or even the world.
On one side, the students are instructed to write only in English. On the other, it’s Chinese. Here are a few pictures from our week together with one of my second year classes.
History of Mother’s Day
Although I’ve posted this before, I’ll do it again here for those who don’t want to dig through previous posts to find it. Here is our Mother’s Day History reading, a U.S. holiday that is celebrating 102 years now and has spread to many other countries as well.
The earliest Mother’s Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece, honoring Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. Early Christians celebrated the festival in honor of Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ.
In England in the 1600s, the celebration included all mothers. This was called “Mothering Sunday”. Besides attending church, children returned home from the cities with gifts, flowers, and special Mothering Day cakes that were important parts of the celebration.
Mother’s Day in the United States dates back to 1872. It was started by Julia Ward Howe. At that time, she was famous for writing the words to a patriotic song called the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Ms. Howe suggested there be a day for peace. She organized women to hold Mother’s Day meetings every year in the city of Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1907, Ana Jarvis (a school teacher from the city, Philadelphia) began encouraging people to establish a national Mother’s Day. Ms. Jarvis asked her mother’s church to celebrate Mother’s Day on the second anniversary of her mother’s death. This day was on the 2nd Sunday of May. The next year, Mother’s Day was also celebrated all over the city of Philadelphia.
Soon, Ms. Jarvis and her supporters began to write to religious leaders, businessmen, and politicians to ask for a national Mother’s Day. By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state in America. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made it official by proclaiming Mother’s Day a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.
This year in America, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8.
In America, mothers are treated very specially. Churches and cities sometimes hold a Mother-Daughter banquet in the evening for mothers and their daughters. Food is served and afterwards, fun activities are played and prizes given. Husbands and children (old and young) take their mothers out to eat at nice restaurants. Cards, flowers and small gifts are presented to mothers on this day as well. Countries such as Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium also celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May.
And now, we can add China to this list! Enjoy your day, Moms everywhere. Here’s wishing you Ping An (Peace) for your special day.