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Mother's Day

By Shelley GollustSunday, May Thirteenth, is Mother's Day in America. It is a day when millions of Americans honor their mothers in many different ways. I'm Shirley Griffith.And I'm Steve Ember. The story of Mother's Day is our report
today on the VOA Special English program, THIS IS AMERICA.

(MUSIC BRIDGE)Mother's Day is the day when people express the love and thanks
they feel for their mother. They give her gifts. They send her
a greeting card. They buy her flowers. And they take her out to
dinner.

Mother's Day has been a national celebration in the United States
for more than eighty years. The idea of honoring mothers is much

older than that. Ancient civilizations in what is now Turkey
honored the goddess Cybele. In their belief system, she was the
mother of all the gods. The belief in Cybele spread to the
ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Many centuries later,
celebrations to honor mothers were held in other countries, too.During the Eighteen-Hundreds, a number of Americans organized
local celebrations to honor mothers. It took a long time,
however, to gain support for a national celebration. The person
most responsible for doing this was Anna Jarvis.

Miss Jarvis began her effort in the early Nineteen-Hundreds. She wrote thousands of letters to congressmen, city officials, teachers,
and newspaper publishers. She traveled across the country to
gain support for her idea.

In Nineteen-Fourteen, President Woodrow Wilson and Congress agreed that the second Sunday in May should be observed as Mother's Day in America.Anna Jarvis wanted Mother's Day to be a simple event. She
thought children could honor their mothers with small acts of
kindness. She did not want Mother's Day to become a time for
businesses to make a lot of money. But her efforts to prevent
this from happening did not succeed. The day has become a major
money-making event for gift stores, flower stores, the greeting
card industry, and telephone companies.

((MUSIC BRIDGE))Today, millions of Americans observe Mother's Day in some way.
They buy more than one-hundred-fifty million Mother's Day
greeting cards. Companies produce more than one-thousand
different kinds. Most of the cards show pictures of flowers or
hearts or other things that people feel are linked to being a
mother. They have messages that express a person's love and
thanks for his or her mother. Some are humorous. And some have
no words -- people can express their own feelings for their
mother.Many people give flowers for Mother's Day. It is one of the
busiest days of the year for the flower industry. Even Americans who live far away from their mothers can send flowers.

They order and pay for the flowers at a local flower store. The
local store places a telephone call or sends a fax message to a
flower store in a faraway city. And that store carries the
flowers to the person's mother in that city.Many people have written songs about mothers and Mother's Day.
Here is a song called "Mother's Day." It was written and is
performed by Rick Margitza.

((TAPE CUT 1: "MOTHER'S DAY))Americans spend millions of dollars to buy Mother's Day gifts.
Stores begin major advertising campaigns several weeks before the
holiday. Clothes, sweet-smelling perfume, and jewelry are
popular traditional gifts. Candy also is very popular. But
Mother's Day gifts can be imaginative, too. Many mothers like to
receive books or sports equipment or tickets to the theater.Mother's Day is a time for young children to do special things
for their mother. Some will make a special gift or draw a
special picture. Maybe they will play this special song on the
piano. It is called "My Dear Little Mother." It was written by
Russian composer Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky in the
Eighteen-Hundreds. The music shows how he felt about his mother.
Here, it is performed by Carol Rosenberger.

((TAPE CUT 2: "MY DEAR LITTLE MOTHER"))One family activity on Mother's Day is to have the children cook
the early morning meal. Then they serve the food to their mother
while she is still in bed. Or they might clean the house so she
does not have to do it. Fathers might take care of the children
that day so the mother can rest or take a walk or read a book.
Many mothers feel that this free time on their special day is a
very good Mother's Day gift.The day is an important time for family gatherings. Some
families get together to honor all members who are mothers:
grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and cousins. Many people who
cannot spend the day with their mother call them on the
telephone. Mother's Day is one of the busiest days of the year
for America's telephone companies. More than
one-hundred-twenty-five million sons and daughters will telephone
their mother on Sunday.Other families will get together for a meal at a local eating
place. This means that mothers do not have to cook on their
special day. Going out to dinner has become a tradition on
Mother's Day. More than thirty-percent of Americans do it.
As a result, restaurants are extremely crowded that day. It has
become one of the busiest days of the year for the restaurant
industry in the United States.Another Mother's Day activity is to go to a music concert. One
of the songs people might hear is this one, "Songs My Mother
Taught Me." It is by the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak ['DVAWR
ZHAHK]. It is performed by violinist Itzhak Perlman.

((TAPE CUT 3: "SONGS MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME"))Mothers are not the only members of the family who have a special day. In June, Americans will celebrate Father's Day. It is a much newer celebration. President Richard Nixon declared
Father's Day a national observance in the early Nineteen-Seventies.

There also is a special day to honor grandparents in the United
States. It is in September. It is a day when children are urged
to talk with -- and learn from -- older people.For now, we want to wish all mothers, everywhere, a "Happy
Mother's Day." Here is Dick Hyman playing the song "Let Every
Day Be Mother's Day."

((TAPE CUT 4: "LET EVERY DAY BE MOTHER'S DAY"))This program was written by Shelley Gollust. It was produced and directed by Lawan Davis. I'm Shirley Griffith.And I'm Steve Ember. Join us again next week for another
report about life in the United States on the VOA Special
English program THIS IS AMERICA.


"This Is America" in VOA Special English
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