Tomorrow, the Philippines, like some nations, will once more celebrate Mother’s Day, the time universally understood as the date when we express respect, honor, and love towards our mothers.
A tradition started on May 12, 1907 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial service at her late mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia. Her mother had organized women’s groups to promote friendship and health.
It was not until a year later, though, when she got financial backing from John Wanamaker, a Philadelphia department store owner, that Jarvis organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at the Grafton Methodist church.
That has been a long way to 1980 when then President Ferdinand Marcos signed a decree pronouncing the first Monday of December to be both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, a date changed by his successor President Corazon Aquino who changed the date in line with the American custom of having Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May and Father’s Day to be the third Sunday of June.
In 1998, the dates were changed back to the primary Monday of December by then-President Joseph Estrada.
But given the blend of the country’s worldwide societies and with the overwhelming impact of American culture, this multi-ethnic country of 110 million people keeps to date observing Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May and Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June.
Whatever the dates are, we submit that properly a mother’s efforts be recognized and appreciated every day, even when it is not decreed by law or being rolled down the corner by popular culture.
We will never foretell—which could be unduly limiting—how the children will raise their appreciation to and recognition of their mothers on the assigned Sundays in their culture.
We add that tomorrow will not just be a day considered as a token to show our gratitude to the immeasurable sacrifices that mothers make for their families.
It is indeed a Day to honor the mother of the family or recognize motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.
However the mothers may be called—mama, mommy, mom, inay, nanay, nana, or whatever it is in the family’s culture—children in the country denote their mother by the idiom “ilaw ng tahanan” which depicts the comfort and warmth they bring to the home with their bubbly attitude.
To paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894), a mother’s secret hope outlives youth, love, and the leaves of friendship.