Mother’s Day in Shanghai

The Mother’s Day holiday that’s most widely recognized in China is the American one – the second Sunday in May. How is it celebrated? For comparison’s sake, let’s start with how we do it in the US. Typically, a woman’s husband would guide their children in buying or making gifts, maybe make breakfast in bed for mom, and give a bouquet of flowers. He would also be expected to at least call his own mother to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, but will likely also send flowers or a gift to her as well. In China, Mother’s Day mostly goes ignored…a grown man might send well wishes to his own mother, but since “she’s not my mom,” he may not bother to do or say anything to his own wife, even if she is the mother of his children. If the children are in a school with a western influence, the school might help them make a card or a painting for the mothers, but otherwise, children aren’t generally expected to do anything for their moms. Chinese moms also don’t expect anything.

Generally, I’d say that Chinese people don’t tend to attach as much meaning to many of the holidays that we celebrate in the west, especially birthdays, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. These holidays haven’t been as heavily commercialized as some others, such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and to a lesser extent, Halloween and even American Thanksgiving.

As a mom myself, I can say that the recognition for my hard work is appreciated so I hope everyone took the time to do something thoughtful for their own mothers.

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