Mother’s Day is an international celebration honouring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world. Mother’s Day has led to similar celebrations honouring family members, such as Father’s Day, Siblings Day, and Grandparents Day – although not as big.
Mother’s Day around the world
So why does it come around more than once in a year? Being in the Middle East, you are surrounded with people from various countries and cultures. Mother’s Day is celebrated on different dates around the world. So unfortunately, there’s not a specific international date for Mother’s Day. For most countries in the world, Mother’s Day falls in the months of March and May. In countries such as Russia, Afghanistan, Armenia, Bulgaria and other ex-communist countries, Mother’s Day is celebrated on 8 March, which is also International Women’s Day. In the UK, Ireland and Nigeria, it’s celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent – falling on 11 March this year. In addition to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, most countries in Africa, Asia and South America celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May – falling on 13 May this year.
The Arab world welcomes Mother’s Day on 21 March. In Qatar, influenced by both Eastern and Western cultures, Mother’s Day is celebrated at least twice a year – in March and May. This means shops and hotels will have special offers for Mother’s Day a couples of times a year! It’s a great opportunity to celebrate your mother more than once – or if you’ve missed one, you can make it up to her on the next Mother’s Day.
The origin of Mother’s Day differs from one country to the other. The most popular story of the origins of Mother’s Day is from the US. It is credited to Anna Jarvis who in 1908 held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Virginia. Her campaign to make ‘Mother’s Day’ a recognised holiday in the US began in 1905 when her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. It wasn’t until 1914 that Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the US, signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honour mothers. Although she succeeded in establishing the holiday, she rejected the commercialisation of Mother’s Day. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day. She had established the holiday on sentiment, not profit.
In the UK, Mother’s Day is also known as Mothering Sunday. Mother’s Day was originally a day for Christians to visit their ‘mother’ church back home during the holy month of Lent. Workers including domestic servants and apprentices would be given the day off to return home to visit their mothers and family, and worship with their loved ones. Because it is linked to the Christian calendar, the date of Mother’s Day changes every year but it usually falls in March or April.
In the Arab world, it is believed that Egypt introduced Mother’s Day to the region. Egyptian journalist and brothers, Mustafa and Ali Amin, were the first to call on Arabs to assign a day in which to honour mothers. Their idea gained popularity, and readers of their columns began suggesting dates to mark the occasion. Accordingly, 21 March was selected as a day to celebrate motherhood across the nation, as it marks the beginning of spring. It was celebrated for the first time in 1956 during the era of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Mother’s Day in Islam
In Islam, there are only two occasions that are meant to be celebrated: Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha. Therefore, birthdays, anniversaries and other forms of ‘holidays’ are not significant in Islam. Although there is no concept of Mother’s Day in Islam – like other religions – mothers are held in high regard.
Islam states that without the approval of your parents, specifically the mother, one cannot enter heaven – no matter how great their good actions were. As a hadith says ‘paradise lies under the feet of mothers’, meaning that one can attain admission into heaven after death if one is a caring and loving child to their mothers. It considers the attainment of the last phase of perfection, namely paradise, dependent on the mother’s satisfaction.
Islam highly considers respect for parents and observance of their rights to be the greatest duty of the Muslims after the divine commands. Mothers have extraordinary worth in Islam, and has drawn the attention to this matter in various remarks. As quoted from Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project, the Quran says:
‘Be grateful to Me and to both your parents’ (31:14)
Here God Almighty, immediately after referring to His own right, speaks about the right of parents.
A man came to the Seal of the Prophets and said: ‘O Prophet of God! Guide me, to whom should I be good in order to benefit completely from my good deed?’
He said: ‘Be good to your mother.’ He asked: ‘Next to her?’
The Prophet repeated: ‘Be good to your mother.’ He said again: ‘And next to her?’
The Prophet answered: ‘To your mother.’
The man said: ‘To what other person should I be good?’
The Prophet said: ‘To your father.’
In Islam, a mother’s anger and dissatisfaction with an offspring are regarded as the means of one’s misfortune and destruction. In some Islamic narrations, it has been explicitly stated that those who maltreat their parents, will never even smell the perfume of heaven, nor attain happiness in his or her lifetime.
Remember, showering your mother with words and actions of love and appreciation, and gifts are important on Mother’s Day as well as everyday of your life and hers. Mother’s Day also reminds us of the importance of motherhood and a mother’s role in a family and society. It’s a reminder to mothers about their grave responsibility and the importance of managing a family and upbringing of children, which are among the greatest and the most worthy occupations – no other job is as significant.
So to all the mothers in Qatar and around the world reading this, Happy Mother’s Day!
Author: Ola Diab
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