With Mother’s Day approaching, it seems fitting that we not only honor mothers but also reflect on the contributions they make to their families and communities…
Traditions for commemorating the holiday may vary from country-to-country. But whether in May or March, October or December, the day is marked on Islamic, Hindu, Hebrew and Gregorian calendars, and shares a universal thread honoring the mother of the family, motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers and women in society.
For us at Uma, it is important to align this same sense of purpose and the spirit that motivated the origin of the contemporary holiday with our company’s namesake: the Goddess Uma—a mother, daughter, sibling—and a bold, confident and powerful woman. Indeed, she is the Goddess of Go-getting.
Undaunted, indefatigable and go-getting certainly applies to the mothers of the world and the history of the holiday reinforces that point. No matter what the country, and despite the current commercialism attached to the holiday, the day has become one to honor and show appreciation for the often heroic, always purposeful acts of mothers and women not only for their families but also for their communities and their countries.
In the United States, for example, the origins date back to the 19th century and the years before the Civil War when Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start Mothers’ Day Work Clubs to teach local women how to properly care for their children. In 1868, Ann expanded the clubs’ purpose and organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day” which promoted reconciliation between former Union and Confederate soldiers and ultimately became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War.
Ann’s actions were only the tip of the iceberg. In 1873, suffragette Julia Ward Howe asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. And years later, in 1968, Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., used Mother’s Day to host a march in support of underprivileged women and children and paved the way for women’s groups in the 1970s to mark the holiday as a time to highlight the need for equal rights and access to childcare.
It was Anna Jarvis’ determined daughter, however, whose persistence resulted in President Woodrow Wilson signing a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
The ripples were felt worldwide and anchored in the same motivation. In Indonesia, Mother’s Day is held on the anniversary of the first convening of women in a governmental body, an occurrence still considered pivotal in launching organized women’s movements throughout Indonesia.
In Bolivia, Mother’s Day celebrates the literally fighting heroism of women in battle and the part women played on the battlefield in Bolivia’s early 19th century struggle for independence from Spain. Always celebrated on May 27, the country’s Mother’s Day marks the day the “Heroines of Coronilla” took to the streets.
And in Israel, Family Day, the holiday formally known as Mother’s Day, is celebrated on the 30th Day of Shevat which usually falls in February and honors Henrietta Szold. Henrietta never had any children of her own, but in saving many children from the horrors of the Holocaust, she earned the reputation of “mother of all children.” In 1950, the date of Henrietta’s death became the country’s national Mother’s Day.
Families in the United Kingdom celebrate Mothering Sunday much as we do here in the U.S., though the holiday typically takes place in March on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Originally, a religious holiday when people would go to their “mother church,” it has become more secular and a day when families fete moms by taking them to dinner and giving them presents.
Finally, in India and various Middle Eastern countries the motivations are more ordinary but noble nonetheless. Indians take Mother’s Day as a time to reflect on the importance of mothers in their lives and as a time to express gratitude to their mothers for all the sacrifices mothers make so that their children and families can lead a better life.
And from Bahrain to the United Arab Emirates to Iraq, Mother’s Day is inspired by the story of a thankless widow ignored by an ungrateful son and honors all mothers for being the ultimate givers of life.
Here at Uma, we strongly feel that no one is more deserving of such global celebrations. Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful moms who make this world a better place every day.