By Joe Olvera ©, 2011
In France, it’s known as Fete des Meres. The Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte said about mothers: “The future of a child is the work of his mother.”
In Japan, the special day is known as “haha no hi,” with the word derived from hahaoya, which means mother in Japanese. In Japan, as in most of the world, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, but the history of Mother’s Day in Japan hails back to the Showa period when Mother’s Day commemorated the birthday of Empress Kojun (mother of Emperor Akihito).
In Mexico, Mother’s Day is traditionally celebrated on May 10, whatever day in which the date falls. This year, May 10 will be on a Tuesday. But, whatever day it falls on, the tradition is to celebrate it with a mass at the shrine of the Virgen de Guadalupe, where an orchestra plays “la mananitas,” in ode to the Virgen Morena, who represents all mothers in Mexico. After the mass, Mexicans follow the tradition of providing such delicacies as tamales and atole. Aside from presenting mothers with special gifts from old and young alike, the significance and the importance of the day is to honor mother.
In the United States, Mother’s Day is about a century old. It started as an effort by a daughter named Anna Jarvis, but, the first idea about celebrating the event goes to writer-poet Julia Ward Howe who, in 1872 wrote a Mother’s Day proclamation as a call for peace. The Day, however, actually started with Ann Jarvis, mother of Anna Jarvis, who called for improvisation of sanitary conditions during the Civil War; it first became known as Mother’s Work Day.
This consisted of Ann Jarvis organizing women to work for better sanitary conditions, while working for the reconciliation of Union and Confederate neighbors. Anna Jarvis – the daughter – continued her mother’s work even after the civil war. In 1907, Anna Jarvis ordered 500 white carnations at her mother’s church – St. Andrews Methodist-Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Through the hard work and struggle of Anna Jarvis, then-President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, officially named the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
In El Paso, Texas, as in other communities that border Mexico, Mother’s Day is celebrated with a combination of American and Mexican traditions. One of the most cherished traditions is utilizing mariachi music to commemorate and to honor mothers. Just as in Mexico, in El Paso and across the southern border with Mexico, mariachis are contracted to provide such beautiful tributes to mother as “Las Mananitas.” Also, in El Paso, many people ascribe to Abraham Lincoln’s tribute to mother, when he said: “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
And, just as there is honor and respect shown to all mothers, some even joke about our most trusted and respected parent. The following are some jokes about mothers that have made the rounds since time immemorial. The authors, or comedians, are unknown:
* “My mother taught me anticipation – ‘Just wait until your father gets home;’”
* “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me;”
* “You hear a baby cry at a store, and you start to gently sway back and forth, however, your children are at school;”
* “My mother taught me about hypocrisy: ‘If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times, don’t exaggerate;’”
* “My mother taught me about the circle of life: ‘I brought you into this world, and I can take you out;’”
* “The mother of three notoriously unruly youngsters was asked whether or not she’d have children if she had to do it over again: ‘Yes, but, not the same ones.’”
* “My mother taught me about behavior modification: ‘Stop acting like your father;’”
And, of course, the favorite of all time:
*Cook a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you get rid of him the whole weekend.”
Feliz dia de las Madres, means, of course: Happy Mother’s Day!