A GNA Feature by Eunice Hilda Ampomah/Vivian Tawiah
Sunday, May 9, is Mother’s Day and Ghana will join the rest of the world to recognise the immeasurable contribution of mothers and mother figures in building the lives of children and dependents.
Europe, Africa and South America, among others, took lead from the United States practice of celebrating the Day on the second Sunday of May, every year.
According to www.history.com, Mother’s Day dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans who celebrated in the honour of other goddess Rhea and Cybele, however, in the contemporary world, it is found in ‘Mothering Sunday’, which was the fourth Sunday in Lent, celebrated in the UK and some parts of Europe.
In the middle ages, children who had left their families to work in domestic service were allowed to go home or visit their main church, also known as mother church, and the journey home inevitably became an occasion for families to reunite, with the custom developing for children to pick flowers en-route to give as a gift to their mothers.
The date took on a further celebratory air because it was traditionally an occasion for the fasting rules of Lent to be relaxed, allowing revellers a long-awaited feast.
Although a number of countries stick to the practice by the US, others also commemorate the fourth Sunday of Lent, example Nigeria, who joins the United Kingdom and Ireland to mark the ‘Mothering Sunday’.
Other countries, including Russia, Vietnam and Afghanistan, commemorate mothers on International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8, every year (msn.com).
Bolivia marks Mother’s Day on May 27, the date of the Battle of La Coronilla, when women fighting for the country’s independence were slaughtered by the Spanish Army in 1812.
Elsewhere, France and many of its former colonies celebrate mothers on the last Sunday of May, while Argentina marks “Dia de la Madre,” – Mother’s Day – on the third Sunday of October.
The Mother’s Day has become widely known than the traditional ‘Mothering Sunday’.
History explains that it was created in 1907 in the US by Anna Jarvis, who held a memorial service for her mother Ann Jarvis, a peace activist who treated wounded soldiers in the American Civil War.
Her daughter campaigned for a day to honour the role played by mothers following Ann’s death, and the idea gained such attraction that by 1911, all US states observed the holiday.
In 1914, it had become so ubiquitous that President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother’s Day a national holiday “as a public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”
The celebration rapidly became a commercial opportunity with Hallmark leading the way by manufacturing cards in the early 1920s.
By the 1950s, the practice of the Christian Festival had broadly merged with the commercial aspects of Mother’s Day.
The Day is now widely celebrated by other religions including Muslims in some countries including Ghana.
Children on this day either acquire gifts for their mothers, give them special treats either at home or outside the home or allow them to rest while they do all chores and prepare them their favourite meals.
The Day basically gives children the platform to make mothers feel special, loved, appreciated, adored and happy.
However, like last year, it will be marked a bit differently amid the COVID-19 pandemic with restrictions on social gatherings and traveling in some countries.
Some local television stations create an avenue with free food, drinks, music and dance to enable children to celebrate with their mothers and appreciate them, through live broadcast.
The Reverend Professor Paul Frimpong-Manso, the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church, in a Mother’s Day’ message, said apart from God, “we owe our mothers our own existence”.
“They were the first faces we saw when we were born. Our Mothers are imprinted on our hearts and souls, no matter the circumstances – past or future, not even coronavirus….. To all Mothers who did not forget their babies but had compassion on them (Isaiah 49:15), may the Lord reward you with long life,” he said.
Rev. Frimpong-Manso said: “Mothers are also humans – they can offend and be offended; they can disappoint and be disappointed; they can malign and be maligned. Some mothers are hurt, others are groaning and yet others have regretted. This is the time to sooth their wounds and tell them how special they are to us.”
“On this Special Day, I humbly appeal to all sons and daughters around the globe that we take a moment to see, say and/or send our Mothers something unique and memorable. Now to all Mothers, I pray Proverbs 31:28, 29 into all your endeavours.
For the Scriptures declare: “Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her. Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” he added.
Interacting with some members of the public, Ms Anita Sekpla, a 22-year old beautician, said: “Things are hard of late and I think it’s because people don’t go out much as a result of the COVID-19, so they barely come to do make over.”
“But I will still need to get my mother something beautiful to let her know I am grateful for her love, care and support all these years, though she is a single parent”.
Samuel Borden, a 17-year old Senior High School student, said: “My mother loves music so I will sing her favourite song to her and get her a bar of chocolate. I sing in school so she’s assured of some good solos. I wish all mothers and potential mothers a Happy Mother’s Day”.