April 11, 2017

#05-029: Mother's Days

brick church with white steeple against blue sky with fluffy white clouds
Church where the first Mother's Day service was held in 1908

Note: The official recognition of Mother's Day in the U.S. was long in coming. But today, nearly half of the world's 175 celebrations use approximately the same date!

Get Ready: When do you celebrate Mother's Day? What do you do to recognize the importance of mothers?

One of the key aspects of traditional Chinese culture is called in English "filial piety." In China this is a refined social construct, involving at the deepest level of Confucianism the veneration of ancestors through such acts as respecting an ancestral tablet on a home altar, and the practices associated with the Qing Ming Festival (see Lesson #05-022).

However, the idea of respecting one's parents--and, by extension, grandparents and so on--is not unknown to other cultures. One of the "Ten Commandments" in The Bible says, "Honor your father and your mother," and adds the promise "so that your days may be long in the land."

Many ancient cultures worshipped mother goddesses, and in the Roman Catholic Church reverence to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is second only to that given to Jesus himself.

It's no surprise, then, that most of the world's countries officially recognize some day or another as Mother's Day--about 175 countries, by one count, on around 30 different dates. But nearly half of these countries--about 85--recognize the second Sunday in May, the day declared by Anna Jarvis in 1905 and given its first official recognition in America around 1910.

The path to this achievement was long and circuitous. Despite Jarvis's protestations that she had thought up the idea herself, the movement actually started in the 1860s.

In 1868 Jarvis's own mother started a "circle" of mothers of former soldiers in the American "War between the States"--from both sides of that conflict--to "reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War." The elder Jarvis had previously formed "Mother's Day Work Clubs" to work for better sanitation in prison camps during the war.

The idea slowly grew among civic groups such as schools and churches, and especially in the efforts of the "temperance leagues," groups attempting to abolish alcohol.

But the date certainly crystallized through the efforts of Anna Jarvis with the backing of Philadelphia businessman John Wanamaker, owner of one of the first department stores in the United States.


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother%27s_Day

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. ancestral
  2. backing
  3. circuitous
  4. crystallized
  5. filial
  6. piety
  7. protestations
  8. sanitation
  9. social construct
  10. temperance

  1. insisting repeatedly that something is not so
  2. reverence; deep respect
  3. winding; complex
  4. support; help
  5. became definite
  6. cleanliness for health purposes
  7. pertaining to children (especially sons)
  8. moderation; self-control
  9. an invention of society so widespread it is assumed to be "natural"
  10. pertaining to one's parents, their parents, their parents, etc.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for April 11, 2017

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. j; 2. d; 3. c; 4. e; 5. g; 6. b; 7. a; 8. f; 9. i; 10. h