Last Sunday was Mother’s Day, which inspired many students to visit home to surprise mom and parents to visit campus. Along with the cheerful embraces among family members, I also observed people questioning why we have Mother’s Day in the first place.
“Shouldn’t we appreciate our mothers everyday?” is a very valid question. Indeed, we should appreciate our family members and those we cherish all the time. However, there are still valid reasons for celebrating Mother’s Day, and other holidays that are aimed at appreciating particular people or traditions.
After all, if we maintained the same logic for other holidays, couldn’t it be argued that it is silly to celebrate anything on a consistent date?
This logic would not affect all holidays, such as New Year’s Day, which celebrates a new beginning rather than things that have happened in the past. However, applying the notion of “we should appreciate our mothers every day” to other annual festivities would result in celebrating hardly anything regularly.
Birthdays would never be celebrated, because it could be argued that people should be happy that you were born every day. Could you imagine if your friends and family members came up to you daily and said, “I’m so glad that you were born?” The repetition would cause the sentiment to get overused.
With the logic that we should spread valuable messages every single day, Martin Luther King Day would not be celebrated with the argument that we should simply reiterate his thoughts daily. And I am sure that there are people who are appreciative that Jesus was born every day despite celebrating the day of His birth, Christmas, once a year.
Clearly, if there are so many days throughout the year designated to celebrating different holidays, then there must be a worthwhile reason that they exist.
In a capitalistic society, one could argue that it helps people buy into commercialism and spend excessive amounts of money on gifts. However, holidays exist for so much more than sentimental Facebook posts, pictures and flowers that die after a week.
Holidays foster coordination and collaboration between people. Celebrating the anniversary of an event provides a designate spot on the calendar that guarantees a universal day off of work. During this time, busy schedules can be combined more easily, allowing individuals to gather and indulge in activities that demonstrate their appreciation with ease.
Having a day off of work for Thanksgiving, for example, makes it much easier to arrange a family gathering and spend an entire day creating a meal together. Coordinating a family gathering can be achieved by taking days off of work at the same time, but having a universal day that is consistent each year makes organizing such an occasion much easier.
While it can argued that holidays, such as Mother’s Day, are unnecessary or cause people to only appreciate family members on particular holidays, they do the opposite. Mother’s Day acts as a reminder and opens up conversations about why we should be thankful for the ladies that raised or birthed us.
On Mother’s Day, there were a wealth of videos and articles on Facebook that reminded people about the pains of childbirth and why we should not take that for granted. Parents should not have to have an excuse to visit their child if they would like to, but having Mother’s Day still motivated the coordination of schedules for families to visit each other to celebrate their mother’s efforts.
Having so many parents on campus visiting at once has its own, less obvious advantages as well. While so many parents are on campus at the same time, they have the opportunity to meet the parents of other students attending the university they shipped their children off to. Maybe it even allowed a few of them to meet a new friend.
Don’t be a Scrooge. Before spinning off a holiday as a waste of time or reasoning that it is something we should be thankful for everyday, think about it. Do we really want people to share their appreciation of each person and every single thing that they are thankful for every day?
Telling individuals that have touched our lives that we are glad they have done so on a daily basis is a nice thought, but is it realistically possible? Of course not. Trying to do so would result in spending each day rehashing old ideas and repeating sentiments instead of doing something new — maybe even something that could result in a new holiday.
It’s not necessary to spend money on gifts or do something out of the ordinary every year on each anniversary. Everyone has his or her own way of interacting with each day of remembrance. However, that does not mean that it is pointless, or not benefiting someone else and should be treated with respect.