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14th May 2000
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Amma, I love you

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Amma, I love you

By Ruhanie Perera 
To be a mother is to be many things. For a mother is a culinary expert who cooks up delicious delicacies. A doctor or a nurse who will stay up with a sick child at night. A Sherlock Holmes who finds things that suddenly go missing. A guide who helps you walk the road of life. She is a counsellor who listens to all your heartaches and most importantly she's a friend who tries to make your burdens lighter.

In essence, motherhood is... "an all-encompassing love" quipped a friend while I sat trying to figure it out for myself. She's right! It's a love that puts up with tantrums. It's also a love that's there for you no matter what horrible things you've said. A mother listens and forgives and keeps on loving, even when all others have given up. 

Life is such that change is the only thing that's constant. And in this ever-changing world the role of a mother remains unchanged. Yet, unlike girls of generations past, being a mother is not a top priority for the present girl. Having a family is put off because there are more 'important' things to do. Being a mother comes second to being independent, continuing with higher studies, finding a good job etc. So what is it that has changed?

"I think it is circumstances that have changed," says Roshani who's very much a working girl. "We haven't become inhuman. I think all girls still want to be mothers very much, but that's not the first thing on our list, that's all. There are so many other things that need to be done first. Things that are very much a part of our day to day lives, like getting a good job." 

Sashi, an undergraduate thinks on almost the same lines. "I think we need to study harder to get better jobs, jobs that will give us a good life. I'm not studying for some altruistic reason like giving a better life for my children. I'm doing this because I want to. But let's face it, my kids will have a good life. They'll just come a bit later than they used to." 

The moment little girls pick up their dolls and cuddle them, the mother in them is born. Maybe life has changed, maybe our children will come a tad later than before and maybe there won't be as much time for them as before. But, they will still be important. Feelings never change, though circumstances do. The love will always be the same.

We still have laps to rock children in, lips to cover them with kisses and hearts to love them. Nothing has changed really...at least not the important things. 

How it all began

Everyone knows what Mother's Day is all about right? You honour and show your appreciation for your mother for all she's given you and done for you, for all the sacrifices and love. But very few people know where the origins of Mother's Day lie.

The earliest Mother's Day celebrations have been traced to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honour of Rhea, the Mother of Gods. Once a year the people held a festival, and this is the first known celebration to honour a mother.

In the middle ages however another practice began. During the 1600's many of England's poor worked as servants for the wealthy. On Mothering Sunday the servants would have the day off and would often spend it with their mothers. A special cake, called the Mothering Cake was often brought along to provide a festive touch.

In the United States in 1907 Anna Jarvis from Philadelphia, began a campaign to establish a national Mother's Day. Ms. Jarvis persuaded her mother's church in West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on the second anniversary of her mother's death which happened to be the second Sunday in May that year.

In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the second Sunday of May. 

Different countries however celebrate Mother's Day on different days. Norway observes the day on the second Sunday in February and in Argentina it is the second Sunday in October. Lebanon celebrates it on the first day of spring, and in South Africa it is the first Sunday in May.

In parts of Yugoslavia where the Serbian people live, Mother's Day is called 'Materice'. On this day children tiptoe into their mother's bedroom very early in the morning and tie her up. When she awakens, she begs the children to untie her, promising to give them little gifts which she has hidden under her pillow.

In India the Hindu people celebrate a ten-day festival to honour Durga, the Divine Mother. She is portrayed as being very tall and having ten arms. In each arm she carries a weapon to destroy evil.

In Sweden, shortly before Mother's Day the Swedish Red Cross sells tiny plastic flowers. The money from these 'Mother's Flowers' is used to give vacations to mothers with many children. In Spain and Portugal the eighth day of December is the day that tribute is paid to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and is also the day when children honour their mothers. While different countries celebrate the day in different ways, the idea is still the same. To honour your mother in your own special way. 


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