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Reasons For Mother's Day's Popularity In China

Mother’s Day honors mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It falls on the second Sunday of May. For more on this special day, we’re joined in the studio by my colleague Zhong Shi.

Q1. Zhong Shi, it seems that while people may have opposing ideas about whether the Chinese should celebrate Christmas or Valentine’s day because of their western roots, they don’t have a problem with the Mother’s Day. What’s the reason behind that?

ZHONG SHI: You’re absolutely right James. Both Christmas and Valentine’s Day have had their fair share of debates about whether they should be celebrated by the Chinese.

But Mother’s Day, which also originated from the West, seems to have been well accepted. One possible reason can be found in old Chinese sayings like "women hold up half the sky" and "of all virtues filial piety is the most important".

These beliefs combined, speak of Chinese mothers’ indispensable contribution to families and society and that there can never be too much respect for them. So a day to honor them seems just a natural choice. Another reason is, a lot more young people of my generation live and work in different cities than our parents.

In fact, someone did the calculations and came to the unpleasant truth that if we only see our mothers once a year, there’s only so many times left in our lifetime for us to meet. This geographical distance calls for, even just one more day, to remind ourselves to cherish every second we have with our mothers. James?

Q2. Apparently Mother’s Day is getting increasingly popular here in China. Tell us how people in China are celebrating the day this year?

ZHONG SHI: Well, to show how much we love our moms, usually a phone call or a text message will do the trick. But people really are being creative with their expressions of love. There’s the tech savvy children who send greetings at the convenience of their fingertips.

They express their love with smart phone apps such as WEIXIN, the Chinese equivalent to WHATAPP. Then there’s the gift buying children who take advantage of the mushrooming online giftstores that promise safe and speedy deliveries within the day. Popular choices are flowers, cakes and women’s accessories.

On a slightly heavier note, as Sunday marks the 5th anniversary of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people, the Chinese are also reviewing some of the saddest and most touching moments in that disaster where mothers risked or even sacrificed their lives protecting their children.


Moments like these simply remind us just how great maternal love is. As for me, a bouquet of flowers arrived earlier for my mom. And judging from the picture she sent me, she’s had quite a holiday. Back to you, James.


More About Mother's Day: Making Mother's Day A Bit Different

« Ten Essential Elements for Lifelong CompanionThe 9 Best Mother’s Day 2014 Poems and Messages »

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