The Commercialization of Mother's Day

May 13, 2014
By Sophia ZhuEditor: Sophia Zhu
The Commercialization of Mother's Day
Logos of Google and Baidu on Mother's Day[weibo.com]

This year's Mother's Day just passed, and as always, florists and jewellery sellers made a great fortune by monetizing piety.

Weeks before Mother's Day this year, shopping malls were all decorated with huge posters of mothers, and were trying hard to push the sales of kitchen ware and flowers, all stereotypically female gifts. Online trading platforms did whatever they could to shovel all the ads promoting shopping for mothers in front of your face. Not to mention those arrogant florists, sitting in their shops and waiting for your phones calls to tell you the price is much higher during Mother's Day. Everything is about money, or maybe, the message is, nothing says "I love you mum" like cold, hard cash.

Commercialization of holidays is not a new phenomenon. Look at our calendar, Spring Festival: shopping for whole family, Christmas: for Chinese people, Christmas is a carnival, Mother's Day and Father's Day mean shopping for parents, otherwise we will be considered bad children.

But what is the true meaning of Mother's Day then? If we wipe out all the commercialization, what is left? Mere spoken thanks to mothers who have contributed to the family for so many years?

The modern Mother's Day was officially started in the United States at the early 20th century by a women called Anna Jarvis. She got the inspiration of celebrating Mothers Day from her own mother, Mrs Anna Marie Reeves Jarvis. An activist and social worker, Mrs Jarvis used to express her desire that someday someone should honor all mothers, living and dead, and pay tribute to the contributions made by them. However, after she made the suggestion, the holiday soon became commercialized. This has offended Anna, and she spent the rest of her life fighting against the official Mother's Day. However, she couldn't undo what had been done.

The origin of the holiday itself reeks of money, but, I do believe the idea Ana Jarvis originally had, the simple idea to honor all mothers, living or dead, is the most important messages of all. It recognizes a mother's devotion to family, especially their children and tries to make a grand gesture to thank mothers for contributing so much by giving them a day all to themselves.

It would be nice for Mother's Day to really become a holiday for all hard-working mothers. They need a day off, appreciation from their families, and no expensive flowers can replace this.

(Women of China)

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