Growing up in India within the joint family system and the extended family, one has never felt the need to designate one day in a year to make sure you give attention to your mother or father. I don’t think I will ever wait for Mother’s Day to appreciate my mom. As kids the moment we got up in the morning, it was a ritual to wish every elder in the family. In fact, my grandfather used to try and wish us first and then tell us that he was one-up the day he was successful. It was some sort of a race as he got up earlier than us and after having a bath would sit for his morning prayers with his eyes closed. We would wait for him to finish and open his eyes. Sometimes he would pretend that he was still praying and catch us unaware. My Granny would be ready with her ‘tulsi’ leaves and 2 grains of sugar beads ‘ chinauri’ before we left for school.
One day I was annoyed with my help and told her off. My daughter was overhearing and when I stopped she said ” Do you realize you were getting annoyed exactly like Nani (maternal grandmother)”. I was very annoyed at her comment but after a few minutes told her ” Do you realize that 2 decades later you will be getting annoyed like me and Nani” She said “not happening !” We never realize how many traits and how much of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ ( both sides) mannerisms we absorb. My Mother-in-law played an equally important role in my life. When I got married I could bake very well as that was my abiding interest. My Ma-in-law very patiently taught me every day cooking and we lived together till the end of her life. Every day was and is mother’s day, father’s day, and grandparents’ day. We live together and take care of our elders and family every day.
On searching for the origin of the Mother’s Day celebration on the Net, I discovered that the concept of celebrating Mother’s Day started in 1908 when an American, Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother, Ann Jarvis, after her death. Ann Jarvis was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. According to Wikipedia –
“Although Anna Jarvis was successful in founding Mother’s Day she soon became resentful of the commercialization and was angry that companies would profit from the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark and other companies started selling Mother’s Day cards. Anna Jarvis became so embittered by what she saw as misinterpretation and exploitation that she protested and even tried to rescind Mother’s Day. The holiday that she worked so hard for was supposed to be about sentiment, not about profit.”
As it is a recent event and adopted by many countries the world over, it has different meanings and overtones and celebrated on different days.
In India, Mother’s Day is a modern urban celebration and developing culture, celebrated on the second Sunday of May. For us, it is not a religious occasion celebrated by urbanites only, while the larger population of India remains unaware of a designated day as Mother’s Day, as they continue to observe mother’s day, father’s day, and grandparent’s day all year round.