By Patrick D. Bonin
Nothing says “love” in south Louisiana like crawfish, so make plans now to fire up the burner and honor Mom on May 12th with a Mother’s Day crawfish boil!
Mother’s Day as we know it is actually an American invention first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial service for her mom. She started a campaign to make the day an official holiday in the United States and was successful in 1914, although she became disappointed with its commercialization by the 1920s.
Jarvis eventually became a vocal opponent of what the holiday had become, and spent all her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting what she saw as the abuse and commercialization of the celebration.
But the holiday was adopted by other countries and is now celebrated all over the world. In the United States, it is always on the second Sunday in May, but other dates are used in some places.
In most Muslim countries, Mother’s Day is celebrated on March 21st, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, moms are honored on Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent. In Panama, the holiday is held on December 8th, the same day as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Russian traditionally celebrates International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day on March 8th, which was the custom in the Soviet Union. In Sweden, moms are honored on the last Sunday in May, a later date in the colder climate, which allows everyone to go outside and pick flowers.
Most countries celebrate as we do here, with cards, flowers and small gifts for mom. In New Zealand, it is tradition that mothers be served breakfast in bed. In Japan, people typically give their moms red carnations and roses. In Belgium, fathers buy croissants and other pastries and bring them to the mom while she is still in bed – the beginning of a day of pampering for the mother. And in Australia, chrysanthemums are the flower of choice: not only is it in bloom during autumn Down Under, but it ends in “mum,” which is the common affectionate abbreviation for “mother” there. Men often wear chrysanthemums in their lapels to honor their wives and mothers.
So wherever you might be, and whatever tradition is dear to your family, don’t forget to honor your mom on Sunday, May 12th. Happy Mother’s Day!