|Anna Jarvis. Picture Courtesy: Google Image|
|Vintage Ads: Mother's Day|
The commercialization of Mother’s Day began much later. The references indicate that there was only one store in Philadelphia that used this day to sell more products. Later, in 1950's, retailers made use of this holiday to boost sales for certain products. The period of Mother's Day was also the time when woman's suffrage was catching pace. These surely did impact each other. Church organizations started using this day to give sermons to criticize the suffragists and show support for ideal Christian mothers. Protestant churches played a prominent role in influencing this special day. Even though it was Anna's vision, the church organizations played a key role in promoting this day( Jones 1980).
This year marks the 101st year of celebration of Mother’s Day. Just like Christmas and Thanksgiving, today, Mother's Day is also a consumption holiday. Retailers do make use of this to sell more products. Flowers and candies are the most commonly sold products during mother’s day. With time, this has been accepted and practiced in every part of the world (or should I say, most part?). Even though, I have been on social media sites for a long time now, my basic observation suggests that this year had more news feed on Mother's Day and more pictures were shared. In fact, there were a lot of pictures of mom-child (or sometimes 3 or 4 generation pictures) trending on my social media Newsfeed more than any other year. Yes, I agree, it could be probably because I have more friends this year than the previous time or it could also mean, more people are expressing on these sites in the recent times, or it could mean, they are just following the 'crowd.' I had to resist my urge to do what the rest were doing (even though, I was surely not planning to follow the crowd) and post one picture with my mom. I surely miss my mom and she holds a very special place in my heart. Nonetheless the love for one's mom is always special and something that need not be displayed anywhere (And then again, if one does, doesn't mean it is wrong, it is just that I did not choose to do it today).
I also wonder, what exactly does this day mean to the world in today's context. Be it about the childless couples (considering birth rate is low), same-sex couples raising families, or even in terms of consumption. I wonder about this as children at school are usually asked to make cards for their moms (for their dads on father's day). I wonder how these change meanings for such people (Well, not that, the word 'mother' is exclusive for just women). I also wonder how the concept of gifting is changing these days, which in turn can change the meaning of a consumption driven holiday like Mother's Day. Children use online medium to make cards (you know, like the Scratch programming). There are apps on tablets and phones, there is a lot to explore. Things change with time. I wonder where does this leave us with a 100 year old commercialized celebration/holiday?. Something to think about....
In any case, I end with a couple of lines for my mother: Thank you for making me a strong lady and being there with me at all times. I love you.
Even though, I had a partial knowledge on how this day came in to existence, thanks to these below mentioned studies, I found out a lot more about Anna Jarvis and the other influencers for making this a national holiday. It also helped me look at Mother's Day from a different perspective (through the lens of time).
Jones, Kathleen W. "Mother's Day: The Creation, Promotion and Meaning of a New Holiday in the Progressive Era." Texas Studies in Literature and Language (1980): 175-196