Mother’s Day shows family appreciation

By Bill Charles

Japanese got into celebrating Mother’s Day in 1931, first as Empress Kojun’s birthday on Mar. 6, changing it to the second Sunday of May in 1949.

Sunday is Mother’s Day, a celebration honoring mothers and motherhood, and the influence moms have worldwide on practically everyone.

Okinawa’s jumping into the swing of things, with a variety of special events and meals just for mom, although the family’s expected to take mom to them and honor her.  The Seamen’s Club Naha has created a very special dinner in honor of moms, running its special Sunday 11 a.m. ~ 8 p.m.

It all begins with a rose for every mom, and then the gourmet meal begins with a seafood cocktail and roasted eggplant and garlic soup.  On to a filet mignon, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and gravy, and tasty cheese bisquits, and then brandy peach custard pie for dessert.  Advance tickets are $19.95, or $22.95 at the door.  Kids 5~12 are $11.95 in advance or $13.95 at the door.  Reservations are available at (098) 857-1753 or DSN 658-7493.

Renaissance Okinawa Resort’s also pulling out all the stops for moms, offering a special lunch and dinner deal now through the end of May.  Mothers enjoying a buffet or a course meal in one of the designated restaurants receive a discount, provided reservations are made at least three days in advance.  Free gifts will be provided to mom, along with a “Thanks Mother” gift coupon book valid for three months. The discount applies only to the Mother’s order, and not the entire family, and the 10% service charge will be applied.  Reservations are available at (098) 965-0707.

Hotel Nikko Grand Castle has a Mother’s Day Hanayakara Show & Buffet Sunday, with performances at 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.  Tickets are ¥6,000 for adults and ¥3,000 for kids 4~12, with meal included.  At the Loisir Hotel & Spa Tower in Naha, there’s a Mother’s Day Special “Mikawa Kenichiro” with shows at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.  Tickets are ¥6,800, ¥6,300 and ¥5,800, including meal.  The Okinawa Miyako Hotel in Naka features Masao Sen & Kenji Ninuma ina Mother’s Day Special Concert.  Two shows are at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., with tickets ¥10,800 and ¥9,800, including meal.

The Pacific Hotel in Naha is featuring the Michiyo Azuza Mother’s Day Dinner Show at noon and 6 p.m.  The Mother’s Day Show Rumiko Kyoanagi & Hiroshi Kadokawa takes place at Wedding Hall New Sanwa in Taba district of Uruma City at noon and 6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are ¥7.500  and ¥6,500 in advance.  Rizzan Mother’s Day Comedy Show and Lunch is at the Rizza Seapark Hotel Tancha Bay in Onna, starting at 11:30 a.m.  Advance tickets are ¥4,900 or ¥5,400 at the door.

Hotel Royal Orion in Naha City’s Asato District is featuring the Tsubaki Otome Mother’s Day Minyo Show at noon and 6 p.m.  Tickets are ¥,5,000.  The Laguna Garden Hotel Mother’s Day Special “Sakishima Meeting” with Yukito Ara and Isamu Shimoji is at noon Sunday.  Tickets are ¥7.000, and include the meal and soft drinks.  The NHK Singing Contest is Sunday starting at 11:15 a.m. at Nago Civic Hall.  Admission is free.

The Kiyoko Suizenji Mother’s Day Concert takes place at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. at Tedako Hall in Urasoe City.  Advance tickets are ¥5,000.  The Shimauta Mother’s Day Special is set for noon Sunday at the Wedding Hall Castle Highlander in Tengan district of Uruma City.  Admission is ¥5,000.  The Saeko Iraha Mother’s Day Concert has two performances at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Palette Kumoji Theater in Naha.  Advance tickets are ¥3,000 and ¥5,000 at the door.

Oddly enough, Mother’s Day didn’t start out to be a salute to mothers, but rather, a call by Julia Ward Howe in 1870 to rally women to join in support of disarmament.  That Mother’s Day Proclamation didn’t get any traction even in the following decades.  In 1908, in Grafton, West Virginia, Anna Jarvis tweaked the Mother’s Day theme to be one of honoring one’s mother, wanting to accomplish her mother’s dream of having a celebration to honor all mothers.

Jarvis pushed, solicited support from a wealthy Philadelphia merchant, and promoted it even more until she had the attention of President Woodrow Wilson, who made Mother’s Day an official national holiday in 1914.  Within a few years, the Mother’s Day concept began spreading, and by World War II was adopted in one form or another in dozens of countries.  As other countries and cultures picked up on Mother’s Day, it took on various meanings—religious, historical or legendary—and began being celebrated on different dates.  The second Sunday of May and the fourth Sunday of Lent are the two primary days celebrated today, although most Arab countries celebrate on March 21st.

In some countries now, it’s potentially offensive to one’s mother not to mark Mother’s Day.  The Roman Catholic Church associated the day with reverencing the Virgin Mary, while in Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, a special prayer service is held on Mother’s Day in honor of the Theotokos Virgin Mary.  The Hindu tradition is Mata Tirtha Aunshi, the Mother Pilgrimage fortnight, and actually pre-dates the creation of the Western-inspired holiday by at least a few centuries.  Even in stoically secretive China, Mother’s Day is becoming more popular, and carnations are a very popular gift.  Germany seized on Muttertage to promote the values of motherhood at a time when it had the lowest birthrate in Europe, and to encourage women to bear more children.

Japan’s adoption of Mother’s Day was initially commemorated during the Showa period as the birthday of Empress Kojun, mother of Emperor Akihito in 1931, being celebrated on March 6th.  The first meeting of “Praise Mothers” was held on May 8th, and in 1949 Japanese society adopted the second Sunday of May as the official holiday.  Today, it’s a rather commercial holiday, with people typically giving flowers such as red carnations and roses.  The lady who began it all, Anne Jarvis, became disenchanted with the way commercialism took over the day, which is often called a ‘Hallmark holiday’ because of Mother’s Day becoming one of the biggest days for sales of flowers and greeting cards, as well as long-distance telephone calls.  She died in 1948 regretting what had become of her holiday.