Do we need our own Mother's Day?

Updated: 2007-05-16 09:28

As many people around the world celebrated Mother's Day yesterday, a Chinese scholar and member of the top national advisory body has made it his mission to create China's own Mother's Day.

Li Hanqiu, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, suggested that the second day of the fourth lunar month, which falls on May 18 this year, be the day.

It coincides with the birthday of 4th century BC philosopher Mencius, whose mother has long been considered the epitome of maternal devotion and love.

Readers' comments:

chanelee: It seems that whenever a western festival or holiday is celebrated, Chinese scholars or somebody will call for a Chinese counterpart, say St. Valentines v.s. Chinese lovers' day (which falls on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month), as a revival of traditional Chinese culture. But I wonder is it necessary to do so, or is it the best way to promote traditional Chinese culture, when we have so much else to do in preventing the traditional culture from distinction or becoming too commercialized?

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Li has called for the traditional Western gift of carnations for the day to be changed to lilies, which in ancient times were planted by mothers in their courtyards as a sign of sorrow at their children leaving home.

"In a country with a deeply-rooted tradition of filial piety, we should have our own occasion for people to express love for mothers according to Chinese custom," Li said.

He has founded a non-government organization - Chinese Mothers' Festival Promotion Society"- with the support of around 100 Confucian scholars and lecturers of ethics. It plans to celebrate its first Chinese Mother Festival on May 18.

"This is our first year and the celebration will be held only in Zoucheng city of Shandong Province and Shijiazhuang in Hebei, but we believe it will be accepted by more Chinese people at home and abroad as it is conducive to revitalizing our traditional culture of filial piety," said Li.

He also plans to build a theme park on maternity culture in Zoucheng, the birthplace of Mencius.

"Even though the Western Mother's Day is becoming more and more popular worldwide, countries like France, Egypt, South Korea, Portugal and Indonesia celebrate their own mother's days in their own ways," said Lu Zonghai, secretary of Li's society.

According to Li, the society plans to send pamphlets over the next few years to a million students in 100 cities advocating filial piety.

"To ensure the festival is entrenched in Chinese society may be an arduous process, but it is definitely worth trying," said Chen Xuxia, an academician with the Hebei Academy of Social Sciences. (China Daily)