I know you must be tired of all the Mother’s day posts, tweets, ads and mentions. But a conversation with some friends yesterday sparked some thoughts about this day and many other celebratory days. Valentines, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Womans’ Day, have we all fallen prey to the abject commercialisation of these days meant to celebrate the roles we play in each other’s lives and lost the true meaning of observing them.
I do agree that it’s become a bit of a farce. All the pressure to spend money and buy presents but the truth is, we’ve bought into this ideology because it means we have to do little more. And being pressed for time with so much on our plates, who has time to plan or think of creative ways to honour the people that matter to us. Worse still, many don’t realise the importance of expressing that value that the other person brings to our lives and our roles as husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, partners get taken for granted.
But shouldn’t that sentiment be expressed every day, I hear you say. Shouldn’t we always be showing gratitude and effort? Yes, in an ideal world… But we don’t have that. We have busy, complicated lives and flawed relationships. And more often than not we forget to say ‘Thank you’, or ‘I appreciate what you bring to my life’. We get caught up in our ‘me’-ness, and focus on what ‘we’ bring to the party and often forget to give credit for what the other brings. And that credit needs to be expressed. The role of the person must be acknowledged. Not with expensive gifts but with making that person feel special, feel their worth.
The thing is, I don’t believe we would make a real effort to do any of this if these special days did not exist in the public space. At the very least they act as a reminder to show appreciation. I don’t believe that any of them started out with any kind of commercial intent. Early Valentines celebrations were in honour of one or more Saints named Valentine and later became the romantic version we know today in the 14th century, the time of the great English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer (source: wikipedia). Mother’s Day began as pagan celebrations to Greek and Roman female Gods, and later became the 2oth century version that we know due to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, who campaigned hard to make the day officially recognised and was also angered by it’s eventual commercialisation (source: wikipedia).
I would be grateful for any day that means I get to be a little spoilt. I am a firm believer in the power of communication. In how unsaid words and sentiments creep up on you down the line and blow up into bigger issues. I believe we should connect with each other regularly and show our appreciation in gestures and deeds not trinkets and sparkles. And if it means these days exist on our calendar to remind us of that, then I’ll take it and run.
What’s your opinion? Do you celebrate or give it a miss?