Opinions Sat, 11 May 2013

A round of applause for women

Nana Abena Afriyie Kwarkye abenaafriyiekwarkye@yahoo.com

I often wonder if we bother to find out the history behind the celebrations that we highlight so much. For instance how many people know the history behind the celebration of occasions such as Valentine's Day and the like. Often times than not, people usually follow the crowd blindly without knowing the reason for such celebrations. How about the days set aside to celebrate parents? Let me zoom down to the celebration of Mothers Day/Fathers Day. This is a challenge to all those who hype the celebration of these occasion; I doubt if they know how these celebrations came about.

Every second Sunday in the month of May is recognized and celebrated as Mother's Day in some parts of the world. Let me plunge into the history behind the celebration. It dates from the era of ancient Greek and Romans. The earliest history dates back to the ancient annual spring festival where the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. The Greeks used the occasion to honor Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology. But the roots of the history can also be traced in UK where a Mothering Sunday was celebrated much before the festival saw the light of the day in US. However, the celebration of the festival as it is seen today is a recent phenomenon and not even a hundred years old. Early Christians also celebrated a Mother's Day of sorts during the festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honor of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. With time in England, the holiday was expanded to include all mothers. It was then called Mothering Sunday

Here in Ghana and elsewhere in African , the celebration of this day has come to stay. It is not entirely a bad idea to recognize and show love to our mothers for all their efforts in raising and caring for us. I'm also of the opinion that showing appreciation can be done on a daily basis not specifically in the month of May. How about all year round? Exactly the question that comes to my mind every time I think about the hype that is associated with this day

Growing up, I don't really remember being so much engrossed in this day. Probably because my mum departed this world when I was still young. There are a lot of promotions and packages all over being paraded on our airwaves aimed at getting children to show a form of acknowledgement to their mothers. There is a school of thought that is of the opinion that, Mothers Day receive a lot of attention compared to Fathers Day. That is a discussion on its own which I defer for a later date. There is also another party that thinks that for those women who cannot experience the joy of motherhood or for those children whose parents are deceased, the day regenerate their sorrow. Granted that there is also a day set aside to celebrate all women. The International Women's Day; but this day does not receive the same kind of attention as the Mothers Day.

In the part of the world where I was raised(Africa) women for a long time have been marginalized. They suffer different kinds of gender based maltreatment. Women are classified as the vulnerable link compared to men. Women suffer a lot of injustice such as widowhood rites and the like. Comparatively, no man has had to go through the same rites in the name of losing his wife. Furthermore, no man has ever been tagged as a wizard or being behind the misfortunes of their own children. Looking at the other side of the coin, it is so easy to brand women as witches and always associate them with every misfortune that happens to their children later in life. Imagine the pain that women endure during labour. They surely do deserve to be applauded.

My argument is not condemning the celebration of this day but I believe that showing love can be done every day. By and large, women all over the world regardless of the fact that they are mothers or not have paid their dues in all the aspects of the economy. In the light of this, women do deserve a round of applause for their daily contribution towards the growth of the society not to talk of socialization. There is a popular reggae song that says 'No Woman, No Cry ' . To me, women do run the world!!!

Columnist: Kwarkye, Nana Abena Afriyie