Celebrating Our First Love and Language – Happy Mother’s Day

By: Cheryl

By: Ashley Tulio, Communication Specialist 

A message to all mother figures 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother figures out there, and a big thank you everything you do! When I think of what a mother is, I think of the words: patient, respectful, strong, beautiful, supportive, loving and so much more. Mothers play such an essential role in our lives individually and as a society. This holiday also honours the beauty of motherhood and is celebrated in various unique ways within each family. May your Mother’s Day be filled with plenty of joy and love!

Origin of Mother’s Day 

In the past, Mother’s Day was celebrated by the ancient Greeks and Romans where they held festivals to honour Goddesses. Mother’s Day was established in the United States by Anna Jarvis in 1908, and it became an official holiday in 1914. Anna Jarvis’ mother had previously organized women clubs to support and help mothers through motherhood. Anna Jarvis then proposed the second Sunday of May to honour the sacrifices mothers make for their children.

Different Mother’s Day traditions celebrated around the world:

  • Thailand: Mother’s Day is celebrated in August to commemorate Queen Sirikit’s birthday.
  • Ethiopia: At the end of the fall, families gather to sing songs and eat enormous feasts as part of Antrosht, a three-day festival honoring motherhood.
  • Japan: Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in Japan, where children would help with chores and buy gifts, including carnations.

The Origin of Mother Tongue

“Mother tongue” is an expression that dates back to when there was a notion that a child inherits most of their linguistic skills from their mother. Since mothers were the primary caregiver and communicator for children, the mother’s language would eventually be handed down to them, becoming the child’s primary language or first language. This led to the introduction of the phrase “mother tongue”. Nowadays, “mother tongue” mainly outlines the environment that the child is exposed to early on and refers to the language they learn and use the most within the first five years. These days, it also doesn’t necessarily have to be passed down from the caregiver in order for it to be considered as “mother tongue.” The term is very loose and allows for many different interpretations. However, what is consistent is the impact that “mother’s tongue” has on people’s lives. You can spend decades in other countries, learn countless new languages and be exposed to different environments and cultures, but never forget your first. Your “mother tongue” is the language you used to say your first words and the language that helped you understand and communicate with the world around you.

Our mother tongue serves to remind us of the importance of language as a cultural asset. According to UNESCO, a language is lost every two weeks. Let’s us all pick up the call and talk to our mother in our mother tongue and do our part in restoring our heritage.