a heartfelt thank you – Orange County Register

Mother’s Day is today, a holiday initiated by Anna Jarvis that became official in 1914. A century later, the worldwide number of mothers according to Sound Vision is 2 billion, counting 85.4 million in the U.S.

Originally a holiday to honor birth mothers, today’s recognition includes a host of female relatives plus many other special women who play an important role in a child’s life. These “mom” roles are often filled by a caring teacher, a next-door neighbor, or the “village” of women who are the mothers of their friends, classmates or sports team buddies.

The U.S. celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May, but the date varies in many other nations. Arab countries recently celebrated the holiday on March 21 while Indonesian mothers are honored on Dec. 22. In Antwerp, mothers are recognized on Aug. 15 whereas the rest of Belgium observes the holiday on the second Sunday of May.

In the U.S. it is customary to celebrate Mother’s Day with gifts, cards and flowers, along with spending time together.

Carnations are quite popular for bouquets and corsages. In Japan, children give their moms bouquets of red carnations as a symbol of the mothers’ selfless love and sacrifice for their children. Down Under, Australians honor their “mum” with chrysanthemums to symbolize love and appreciation.

Mother’s Day in Peru is a weeklong celebration that includes family dinners, lunches and parties. Museums, exhibits and festivals are free for mothers, and children show their moms love by reciting poems and stories. Peruvians also make it a point to visit the graves of their deceased mothers.

In Ethiopia, Mother’s Day is a three-day mid-autumn celebration known as Antrosht. Mothers and their families enjoy special feasts along with music and dancing around bonfires.

Italian moms are treated to a day of pampering and relaxation while the family takes over doing household chores and cooking.

In Thailand, Mother’s Day is celebrated on Aug. 12, the birthday of their beloved Queen Sirikit. Mothers are given bouquets of jasmine flowers as a symbol of love, and similar to Peru, there are parades throughout the country in honor of the queen and mothers.

And leave it to France to celebrate Fête des Mères with fancy cakes decorated to look like flower bouquets.

I’d like to say thank you to all the mothers out there. Thank you for your strength, your compassion and your boundless love.

Your influence reaches far beyond what words can express, and your legacy will live on in the hearts of those you have touched. Wishing one and all a happy Mother’s Day.

Writer, editor and speaker Cheryl Russell is a Laguna Woods Village resident. Contact her at Cheryl@starheart.com.

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