Parents' Day's Origins and History in the Family Month of May
May 5 is Children's Day, May 8 is Parents' Day, and May 21 is Couples' Day. May is a month to look back on the preciousness of family. This May 8th is the 47th Parents' Day. Parents' Day is a day meant to thank parents for their kindness and give respect to elders. This day was not originally created in Korea and was not called Parents' Day from the beginning. In 1956, the State Council established May 8 as Mother's Day as a day to honor mothers, and to give gratitude for mothers’ hard work as the responsibility and role of mothers were important due to the absence of men after the Korean War. Later, when Father's Day was added, Mother’s Day was renamed Parent's Day in 1973 and became a day to thank parents.
1▲ Anna Jarvis, who worked hard to enact Mother's Day.
Currently, more than 169 countries celebrate Mother's Day or Parents' Day. The origin of celebrating Parents' Day in Korea goes back to America in 1870 when Mother's Day was established. There is a "mother" who greatly influenced the establishment of Mother's Day, social activist Ann Reeves Jarvis. She created "Mothers' Day Work Clubs" to teach local women the right way to raise children, and along with the group, to help treat the wounded during the U.S. Civil War. These clubs were also a way of uniting women in the community at the time.
Anne Reeves said, "I hope we will make a day to celebrate the unparalleled efforts of the mothers of this land." Anne Reeves’ work left a great impression on her daughter Anna Jarvis, and she created Mother's Day nationwide to respect and celebrate her mother's sacrifice and love. After Ann Reeves Jarvis passed away in 1905, a woman who worked hard to create a day to celebrate women, Anna Jarvis carried out her first "Mother's Day" campaign to honor her mother's dedication and sacrifice by handing out white carnations to Christians. Anna Jarvis then wrote letters to lawmakers, governors, and entrepreneurs to raise awareness of the value of women and to establish Mother's Day. Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States officially designated the second Sunday of May as Mother's Day in honor of his mother's love, which is celebrated to this day.
2▲ May flowers, carnations
Thus, Mother's Day, which began as a Christian tradition in the United States, has evolved from a Confucian tradition to Parents' Day. In Korea, children present red carnations to their parents on Parents' Day, because carnations were flowers that Jarvis liked in her lifetime. The carnation's flower language, which is delivered as a token of gratitude in May, means "mother's love and wife's affection" and varies depending on the color. The most popular red carnations on Parents' Day mean a "wish for health" and "respect”. Pink carnations mean "I love you passionately", and the white carnations mean the pure love and remembrance of “I still love you”.
Although holiday customs are slightly different, feelings of gratitude for parents' love is the same everywhere in the world. In the United States, Mother's Day and Father's Day are celebrated on different days, and people say "Happy Mother's Day" and "Happy Father's Day" to express gratitude. On Mother's Day, the whole family prepares breakfast for their mother and does housework on behalf of their mother for a day. China also expresses its gratitude with a seperate Mother's Day and Father's Day, and there is a custom of giving flowers called "wonchuri" instead of carnations. Wonchuri is a flower given to the mother which means “to forget worries”.
Most people may remember making carnations with colored paper and singing a song named "Mother's Grace, Mother's Day" at least once in school. This year many people are also thinking about how to thank their parents for Parents' Day. On this Parents' Day, a book "Parents Research Territory" was popular on social media. Flower farms, which have been shrinking, have also become more active than ever due to people looking for flower gifts. In particular, due to concerns over COVID-19, many people are refraining from holding family
gatherings as much as possible,and instead are spending time with their families through video calls. Why not plan to spend the rest of the May family month building memories with family and loved ones?
By Kim Seong Ju, cub-reporter
By Kim Seong Ju, cub-reporter email@example.com
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