A century of celebrating mothers

This year Mother’s Day was celebrated on Sunday, May 11 in the United States. Mother’s Day is most commonly known in the United States, as well as in countries around the world, as a day of celebrating mothers, motherhood and maternal bonds. The first modern Mother’s Day celebration in the United States was held in 1908 by Anna Jarvis who celebrated her mother in Grafton, West Virginia. President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother’s Day an official national holiday in 1914.

Mother’s Day does not solely pay tribute to mothers but also grandmothers, aunts, sisters, or various maternal figures in people’s lives. The most common gifts to give on Mother’s Day are her favorite flowers, chocolates, a greeting card (store bought or homemade) and jewelry. For out of state students and those that live hours away from school, it can be difficult to determine what to do for Mother’s Day.

“I’m going to Skype with my mom, give her a homemade card and give her a necklace she said she liked when I was home with her over J-term,” Ashley Erceg, a sophomore from Bemidji, MN said.

Sometimes the most thoughtful gifts are the simplest and the ones that we make ourselves, not necessarily the most expensive, which is great for poor college students.

“I always send her flowers, along with a card and chocolates, in order to make her day as special as possible.,” America Silva, a sophomore from Oregon, said. “It’s really hard for us to be apart. My mom is a single mother who is very strong and independent. We have an amazing relationship, which I am very grateful for, but we both know education is very important, so some sacrifices are worth it.”

Being away from your mother while attending college is always difficult, but it is especially difficult on holidays like Mother’s Day, when the whole day is meant to be devoted to giving thanks to all that mothers do. Although this holiday is usually filled with laughter, smiles and gratefulness, it can also be filled with sadness – especially if you will not physically get to spend Mother’s Day with your mom.

“I last saw my mom on August 25, 2012, before I came to the United States and I have not been home since, so it is really difficult being away from her,” Ngulube said. “My mom and I may not always be on the same page, but we are all trying to get through the same book. She really is my rock and my best friend.”

Maintaining contact with your mom is very important when there is a lot of distance between you. Skype, letters, phone calls, texting and Facebook can really help you stay in contact and feel a piece of home here at school.

“Most people can’t believe it, but my first semester as a freshman, I actually Skyped my mom every night, even if it was just for 10 minutes,” Silva said. “Second semester we texted a little more and Skyped less, but this year it’s all about texting, Facebook and email. I guess she’s too busy for me now. Overall I keep good communication and I think we’ve done well thus far.”
This year will make this special holiday one century old, since it was officially declared a U.S. holiday in 1914.

“I think it’s very important to acknowledge the role of women as mothers and caregivers,” Jennifer Rocha, junior, said. “They are one of the pillars of society, without women raising children of substance and character this world would not be a fun place to live in.”
The Mother’s Day holiday has various meanings around the world and is celebrated on different dates. In some cases, countries already have existing celebrations honoring motherhood, and then later adopted components from the American holiday.

“This specific holiday is very much celebrated in Zimbabwe especially more so viewing the importance of family, and it is also a platform to raise awareness about issues affecting women in the country,” Ngulube said.

While we celebrate Mother’s Day with our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, or other maternal figures on Sunday with great food, laughter, and beautiful flowers, let us keep in mind all of the people around the world who cannot spend this day with their mothers.

Elizabeth can be reached at earodewald@stkate.edu.

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