About Mother's Day in the Middle East
When is Mother's Day in the Middle East?
In Egypt, Syria and most other Arab countries, Mother’s Day is celebrated on March 21st, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere.
History of Mother's Day in the Middle East
This date is also Persian New Year, so it might make sense to draw a historic correlation between this time of rebirth and celebrating motherhood; but according to the collective wisdom of the internet, Mother's Day began in Egypt after the influential and pioneering journalist Mustafa Amin observed the American practice in his 1943 book 'Smiling America'.
He proposed that Egypt should copy this practice, but on March 21st rather than the third Sunday in May as is the tradition in America.
Initially, Amin's suggestion fell on deaf ears, but he was driven to campaign for the holiday after hearing the story of a widowed mother who had devoted her life to raising her son to become a doctor, only for him to marry and leave her without any show of gratitude. Eventually, he managed to get President Gamal Abdel Nasser to accept the idea (though Nasser did throw Amin in jail twice - so swings and roundabouts) and Mother's Day was first celebrated on March 21st 1956.
The practise has since been copied by other Arab countries, so that March 21st is now Mother's Day in Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Mauritania, Oman and Syria.
When Amin was arrested and imprisoned on the charge of being an American spy in the 1970s, there were attempts to change the name of the holiday from Mother's Day to Family Day as the government wanted to prevent the day from reminding people of its founder.
Mother's Day in Ancient Egypt
According to tourist expert Ahmed Diab, the idea originated in ancient Egypt during the pharaonic period. Their temples in Dendera and Samanoud attest to how they honored women and mothers, presenting them to the world as saints, and considering them to be the secret and source of life.
Isis, one of the most important Egyptian deities, was a symbol of motherhood and an emblem for the ancient Egyptian mother's celebration. The ancient Egyptians, like the Greeks and Romans, held a flower procession across Egyptian cities in honor of mothers on this day.
Isis eventually appeared as a sacred religious figure on certain temples in Rome, the ancient Roman Empire's capital. Diab said people regarded her as a wise lady and a magnificent mother, as their temples showed.
The concept was carried down via centuries from the ancient Egyptian civilization to various cultures, and it was passed down until it took on its current form.