A mother embraces her child - Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
CAIRO – 25 February 2018: Mother’s Day comes only once a year. It can be difficult to decide how to make it special for her; the key is to consider what your mother wants most.
The gifts most Egyptian sons and daughters give do not always coincide with what their mothers want. Therefore, we have asked some mothers about what they want and what they don’t want for mother's day this year.
Zeinab Abd al-Twab laughs with her husband. The picture was provided by the family.
Zeinab Abdel Tawab, in her early 60s and a housewife, told Egypt Today that she is hoping her two sons will give her a shawl, cardigan or shoes, instead of kitchen tools and appliances such as plates, toasters and kettles.
However, gift preferences change from one mother to another depending on their needs and age.
Gihane Calache among her family. The picture was provided by the family
“I want my children to get high grades at their schools; this is the best gift they can present to me this year. I do not want anything in life except seeing their success,” Gihane Calache, a mother of two children, said.
The first Mother’s Day was celebrated in Egypt in 1956. This tradition spread to other Arab countries and some people prefer to name it Family Day, as children celebrate both parents not only mothers.
Nowadays many children buy two gifts, one for their mothers and one for their fathers.
Gamal in Aswan - Picture provided by Gamal.
“Every year we buy two gifts. This year, my sister and I will purchase a scarf and a cloak for our mother as well as a tie and a belt for our father on Family Day,” Gamal Mohamed, 17, said.
Ghada Sheif, who has an extended family of 35 members, lives in the small village of Meit Taher in the Dakahlia governorate, where her family gathers annually to celebrate her on that day. She described Mother’s Day as “exhausting and beautiful,” since she can’t take her usual naps because she has to attend to the large numbers of guests she receives.
On this day, mothers also receive greeting cards and flowers, and many websites offer special greeting text messages for this occasion.
“My sons always buy my gifts when the Mother’s Day discount starts and the quality of most things aren’t good. So I ask them not to buy anything during the discount season, but they often remember Mother’s Day at the last moment. I hope they change their habit this year,” Nagah al-Hadedy explained.
“Boom! Happy Mother’s Day, my daughters usually give me the present after popping a balloon, and I actually hate this kind of joke,” governmental school teacher Naema Atef said.
“Yes, they bring me exactly what I want; like makeup, perfume and shoes,” she said, but she still doesn’t like their “ridiculous jokes,” Naema added.
“I know that I am a troublemaker and I do not usually take my mom’s advice, but on her birthday and on Mother’s Day, I try to obey her as much as I can; I wake up early on these two day and I perform the household chores on her behalf and I buy a present and flowers,” Gamal, a student, explained.
Mother’s Day Celebrations in Egyptian history
The story began when a famous Egyptian journalist Ali Amin received letters from mothers complaining about their children who neglected them when they got old.
In response, Amin suggested in his daily column Idea
that Egyptians should celebrate Mother’s Day. The notion was overwhelmingly welcomed and Egyptians started the yearly tradition on March 21, 1956.
It is a common belief that Mother’s Day was originally celebrated in western countries, originating from Greek and Roman spring festivals.
In fact, the first celebration of motherhood occurred in Egypt as a Pharaonic tradition. Ancient Egyptians held an annual festival to honor Isis, one of the most popular goddesses of ancient Egypt, who represented the ideal mother and wife.
Whatever its origin is, Mother's Day is a chance not to be missed to honor mothers and express our gratitude for them.